The Etsy Blog

Featured Seller: CircaCeramics

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Individually we are Andy Witt & Nancy Pizarro – Together, we are the dynamic duo Circa Ceramics. We’re based in Chicago, along the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor. Fun fact:

Ruth Duckworth’s studio is a block away! Whenever we walk our pup we pass her place, and always look up to see the work that’s in her windows – It’s pretty cool :)

Ummm…We met at Columbia College and after graduating, we ran away to Albuquerque. 3 years later, we came back – We missed the city, our friends and our families.

What else…We have a dog named Ava, and 3 cats: Uba, Sophie, and Basillia aka ChiChiWee :)

Apart from creating things, what do you do?

We’re gamers, so we do that when we can – Which isn’t as often as we’d both like…We like to cook & eat. It’s all about decompression!

What first made you want to become an artist?

Andy: During my Freshman year of High School I had a difficult time catching the bus after school. I had a World History class on one end of campus, my locker was at another, and catching the bus was like running a gauntlet. So I dropped the World History class in favor of Art 101. I was sold after that first class.

Nancy: My parents brought me up to be an artist – I think it was because I was always drawing something on anything :) I started taking Young Artist classes at the School of the Art Institute when I was 5, and was there taking classes and weekend workshops till college.

Please describe your creative process (how, when, materials, etc).

We get a lot of ideas from restaurants, drinking at coffee houses and looking at commercial tableware and how people use and interact with it. Also, we have an endless supply of suggestions from the people we meet.

We both sketch out ideas (Andy for 3D & Nancy for surface decoration), bounce them back and forth, and start working them into rough drafts. The actual creative construction

process is rather indirect as we make templates out of steel and wood and molds out of plaster and rubber to get to the finished clay piece.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?

Nancy: I have doodley-sketches from my mom on napkins, and these weird mechanical devices my dad makes me from time to time. And a bottle-man Andy made from plaster, wire, and a Negra Modelo bottle :)

Andy: When I was really young, my Father helped me to build a desk. We made the entire thing using a hammer and a circular saw (that saw still scares the crap out of me).

When it came time to cut out the top we totally walked the blade off the line and put this huge gouge in it. It was impossible to fix and we didn’t have another piece of wood, but it didn’t matter. The imperfection really made it a moment with my Father.

Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and websites (besides Etsy).

Andy: For music it would have to be John Coltrane’s Om, any of the Ken Vandermark projects, Musique Concrète (it really makes the neighbors wonder what we are making). I loved the All About series of Children’s books and I find myself on the McMaster-Carr website a lot.

Nancy: I’ll read anything by Lucy Lippard. I find myself drawing a blank for movies, so I’ll name some anime/cartoons I’m fond of:

Cowboy Bebop

Samurai Champloo

Daria

The Venture Brothers

Full Metal Alchemist

Bands I love to hear anytime:

The Smiths/Morrissey

The Creatures

The Cure

Camera Obscura

The Cocteau Twins

Too many websites! I love blogs though – A lot!

What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?

Nancy: Explore the site – Click on ALL of the links you see, try everything out at least once – I still giggle when I see people in the forums say, “Wow, is the ability to do

such-n-such new?”

You must have clear images of your work – So important! Think of yourself shopping on a website and think of all the things you’d wish were in the descriptions and the images,

and do that for your shop – Especially in your Profile – You can put all sorts of neat tid-bits of info in there :)

What are your favorite features on Etsy?  What new features would you like to see?

Nancy: I LOVE the Treasuries! I can’t make one up to save my life, but I love looking at them & admire the way people put them together.

Andy: I have a soft spot for the Storque – It really takes Etsy to the next level of information dispersal :)

An Etsy Bank would be kinda neat!

How do you promote your work?

We have a portfolio on Trunkt, we try to give peeks at our studio & works in progress on Flickr, we buy a spot on Poppytalk Handmade when we can, we show at art/craft festivals, and we keep an active Etsy shop.

In ten years I’d like to be…

Andy: Still with Nancy :)

Nancy: Still with Andy, sane, relatively healthy, and as debt free as possible :)

And we’d just like to say that we love this site & the community and are very happy to be a part of it – Yay!!!

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