My name is Katie Marks. I live and work in Seattle, Washington, where I get to play with clay all day every day. I make high-fired, functional porcelain wares for my business, Silver Lining Ceramics.
As someone who grew up in Seattle, I have lived in grey, overcast skies and week-long rain showers for most of my life. I want to show the beauty I see in the gloom — this city is teeming with life and creativity. I guess you could say the weather mixed with the abundant art and DIY scene keep new ideas floating around in my brain.
I dabbled with pottery during high school, but it wasn’t until I got my own wheel that I knew it was something I was going to do for the rest of my life. Making ceramics is the only thing I could imagine being happy doing all day every day. I love everything about clay; I can’t believe I can turn a lump of mud into something beautiful that came straight out of my brain!
I carefully create each form by hand on a pottery wheel. My process involves carving and drawing into the wet clay to add depth. I also mix all of my own glazes from raw materials, which gives me a lot more control over the final look. I fire to 2400 degrees in a reduction atmosphere, which makes the clay strong and durable and also causes the glazes to flow like running water. I never know what my pieces are going to look like until I open the kiln door after firing. It’s like having Christmas every other week!
I got serious about selling my work in March of 2013, and it’s been quite a roller coaster since then (but so much fun!). Working hard to make my business grow has changed my entire view of the world. I work six days a week, but it no longer feels like work. Without Etsy, it would have been a million times harder to share what I do with people outside of my own city. I never imagined I would be a business owner by 25, but thanks to Etsy, here I am!
All photographs by Alex Garland.