Michelle Smith McLaughlin, Calyer Ceramics

If you’ve ever sought out quality ceramics in our nabe, you’ve no doubt discovered a crowded market. And yet Calyer Ceramics has managed to break through and shine. Founder Michelle McLaughlin grew this independent, creative brand from the ground up, starting out in her own apartment.

We recently met over coffee to discuss the craft and what it takes to grow a creative business…

Michelle McLaughlin’s designs. All photos © Calyer Ceramics

GP: What’s your favorite part about being a creative business owner?

Michelle: My favorite part about being a creative business owner is designing work that meets both artistic and functional criteria. I love entertaining, especially grilling, and use handmade serve ware everyday. I will design a platter for a specific kind of food that I think complement each other. I think that black char looks really beautiful with a soft golden yellow platter for instance.

GP: The hardest part?

Michelle: For me the hardest part is self-promotion. Maybe this has something to to with being raised in Boston as an Irish Catholic, haha. Talking myself up has never come natural to me.

GP: What makes your products different?

Michelle: I try to design products with a sense of whimsy either through a unique color palette, sense of movement, or an interesting texture.

GP: How has your business evolved since last summer?

Michelle: I moved my practice to a new studio which always changes my work in some way. Just being in a new environment influences the work, but I have been inspired by my new studio mates as well!

I am now into plaster mold making for slip-casts. I also worked with Kevin the chef/owner of Faro in Bushwick to create bowls for their amazing homemade pastas. I love collaborating with people in the food industry.

GP: What’s the coolest thing you’ve made in the past month or so?

Michelle: This summer I was commissioned to fabricate wall sconces for a hotel restaurant in the Hamptons, which became a huge inspiration for me.

Now I am expanding my line into home decor items. I am currently working on some table lamps that I am really excited about. I am also designing the perfect dog bowl inspired by my bestie’s puppy, Pops.

See Michelle’s work at Calyer Ceramics or shop her designs on Etsy. While you’re at it, stay on top of her latest news on Instagram and Facebook.

All photos © Calyer Ceramics

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