My name is Janelle, and I am the maker, designer and owner of Nelle Design, a small pottery studio in Orchard Park, New York. Nelle Design represents and exists by one simple statement: handmade goods for a good life.
Handmade is so much about process, and with clay I am continually humbled. I hand-throw or build every piece using locally-sourced clay. After the initial forming of the piece, there are various stages of waiting and pausing, which I enjoy. This time allows me to focus and be truthful in what I want to achieve in the piece, batch, or set. Then there is trimming, attaching, manipulating, making marks, drying, and inspecting. I fire each piece at least three times, and sometimes as many as four to five. This adds layers and depth, which makes each piece far more beautiful, and helps me achieve greater, more interesting results. Working with clay is time consuming, but it also gives you really awesome arm muscles!
Creating custom orders helps foster a deeper connection with customers, which I am always seeking when I sell online. The neat part of my process with custom orders is that I can create custom decals for any and every occasion. I am grateful that customers trust me with their personal stories, cherished memories, and exciting celebrations. Knowing that a piece I made will be in someone’s life as part of their decor or family meals brings complete satisfaction as a maker and business owner.
I believe so much in positivity, seeing the good in people, and the power of beautiful places and things we encounter along life’s journey. I very much try to evoke that in the simplicity and directness of my work. I’m a maker because that’s truly who I am at my core – there wasn’t a decision one day to start making things. I am woman on the path to finding her way in this world, but I do know one thing: I have to make something every day. For me, making equals meaning, and the more I make (even the horrible pieces), the truly happier I am.
I can’t really begin to describe what Etsy means to me. It’s more than a place to sell my wares – it’s a community bursting with talent, inspiration, diversity and support. I am so honored to be engrossed in a community that is continually seeking to maintain the spirit of its mission, by diligently sharing people’s stories and seeking new opportunities for success, all while maintaining integrity, transparency and continually redefining the landscape of what handmade means to so many.
All photographs by Nelle Design.