Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello, my name is Diana Fayt. I am a full time Ceramic Artist and live and work in the lovely, foggy city of San Francisco. I graduated with a degree in Ceramics and Printmaking from the College of Arts(and Crafts)in 1992 and have been making and selling my own one of a kind ceramics since 1994. I’ve had short stints teaching printmaking and ceramics to children and adults, designed a line of table top ceramics that were made and produced in Hungary called the Diana Fayt Collection which were imported and sold though out the United States from 1999-2002, and have participated in numerous group and solo shows nationally and have had two solo shows in Tokyo, Japan. I did this all, until while having a secondary job working in a popular fine dining restaurant here in San Francisco. In 2005 I finally retired from restaurant work to pursue my ceramic work full time. It was a scary leap but well worth it. I often look back on those days when I had two and sometimes three different jobs while making my own work and wonder just how I did it all! These days you can usually find me in my Bayview studio working on my hand etched ceramics that are now sold in galleries and fine boutiques in the United States, Japan and Australia and of course on Esty!
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
You mean there are other things to do other than create things!? Well when I do have extra time I love to travel, cook meals for friends, work in my garden, go on long runs, talk about every possible subject under the sun with my mom, read books, watch movies, spend time with my niece and nephew, see art, go camping, and a real luxury; do nothing!
What first made you want to become an artist?
I come from a family that includes a once internationally recognized circus performer, sign painters, jeweler, seamstress, antique automobile restorer, chef and a national treasure violinist, so I think my predisposition for a career in the Arts may have been decided long before I was born. At very young age, I tried to emulate my circus performing auntie but soon realized I could barely do a cartwheel and it became very clear to me that I would have to find a creative outlet that was all my own. I began drawing when I was around nine and exhibited a natural gift but never really paid it much attention; not thinking it was anything special. I took my first pottery class in the eighth grade, not because I was interested in pottery but because a boy I had a crush on was taking the class. I remember making a clay hippopotamus in that class but I don’t remember what happened with the boy. Then in high school, I took more art classes and once again my artistic skills were obvious but I still did not take it very seriously: in fact I used to cut out on my art classes because I felt they were not as important to pass as my academic classes, much to the confusion and frustration of my art teacher who was often impressed with my work. Then in 1983, when I was nineteen, I moved to Budapest, Hungary where my parents are from and lived with my cousin and her young son. I would draw pictures to entertain her son and it was she who suggested that I pursue the Arts. It was then that the seed was planted and had begun to germinate. I moved back to the United States 1984 and I started taking Art classes and showing up for them! I have been at it ever since with lots of ups and downs but no matter what happens in my life, I have always made a place for it.
Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
I am a morning person so I am usually out of bed by 7:00 a.m. I usually start my day answering emails, squeeze in a jog, run some errands then head out to my studio. I have to work in phases, usually spending an entire day doing only one step of my multi step process. I both hand build my pieces and slip cast my forms. The slip cast forms are taken from original hand built forms that I have designed and made myself and then have molds professionally made for slip casting. I devised my process for working with clay, which I call ‘etching in clay’ in 1994, which involves the layering on of colors and an intricate drawing process where I actually carve or ‘etch’ my designs into the surface of the clay. My ideas for my designs come from so many different places. I really love lines and the visual potency of them in the world around us. I can get super excited by a netting of bus track lines, cracks in the side walk, oil splatters, spray painted road markings, graffiti, sky writing. If it makes a line it makes me happy. And obviously I get inspiration from nature. I am an avid gardener and plant enthusiast. I like to find out about the properties of a given plant and often work in a narrative format. The imagery I choose usually has meaning and many of my pieces are stories or a combination of stories, the birds and animals all having particular significance to me as well. I work primarily with clay but have been known to meander off and draw and paint on paper, screen print and design paper products.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
My most treasured handmade item is a basket that my grandmother carried with her when she, my grandfather, my mother and my uncle all escaped from Hungary in 1956. It was the only thing she brought with her. In it along with a few family photos, a change of clothes were some white sheets to camouflage the family from search planes flying overhead in case it snowed.
Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.
Drawings & Observations by Louise Bourgeois
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
Anything by David Sedaris
A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami
It is difficult for me to commit to saying these are my five favorites movies, but I can tell you that I liked these ones a whole lot!
Me You and Everyone We Know
The X-men movies
The Lives of Others
I like it all so it is impossible to give you a list of favorites here. I listen to just about everything, R&B, jazz, old time folk music, blues, reggae, sad boy music (a genre that I made up myself…Soulful, sensitive songs with heartbreaking lyrics sung by boys (men), rock, Hungarian or ‘ethnic’ folk music, Indian pop, indie, Afro Cuban, classical, pop, you name it I love it.
Dear Ada (blog)
The Satorialist (blog)
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Have an item that is uniquely yours and that is well made.
Take the time to create a nice eye catching cover page with your logo prominently place on it. Post only fabulous photos of your work without a lot of distracting props and backdrops. Communicate with your customers promptly and in a professional manner. Make sure to thank everyone who buys your work!
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I like the Treasury. I love that it is a selection of works that are picked by fellow Etsy sellers and shoppers so it showcases the community aspect of Etsy in wonderful way. I also like the favorite seller and item feature. I would love a template for posting. Though the ‘relist’ option is kind of like a template it would be nice to not have to edit so much out of the re-listed items post in order to update it. Oh and I think you should ask interviewees for featured seller who their five favorite artists are 🙂
How do you promote your work?
In pre-internet days I entered juried shows, participated in craft shows and exhibited in galleries and boutiques. Now I do most of my self-promoting via the Internet so I have a website but I also have been writing a blog, One Black Bird for over two years now. I network with other art, pottery and design bloggers and am always posting pictures of my work on Flickr.
In ten years I’d like to be…
In love, living in my own home with a garden, a dog and making museum quality work.