an interview + a special gift = a whole lotta goodness {alisha hastings-kimball}

today, i’m excited to introduce you to a wonderful woman with whom i’m grateful to have crossed paths…online and in real-time. yes!  i’ve met alisha myself…we’ve hugged in person!  i first met her at squam, and, just this past summer, i managed to sneak away for a few hours {thank you to my sister for entertaining the kiddos meanwhile} to visit alisha in her home and studio.  she is warm and genuine and gentle {and she makes a delicious lentil salad}.  i’ve invited her to join us so that you can get to know her better…

{all photos credit of alisha hastings-kimball}

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can you tell us a bit about your creative work and business?

I have always loved making things ever since I was a child and have had a yearning to share my work with the world for pretty much as long as I can remember.

I painted for many years and pursued all sorts of creative endeavors, at one point I even wrote and illustrated a children’s book (it was never picked up for publishing, this was before self publishing). Around that time, I was playing around with polymer clay for fun and discovered I really enjoyed it and so even back then I always had an inkling that I might be good at ceramics. Fast forward to 1999 when a friend asked me to join her for ceramics class. After my first class I was smitten and came home that evening and declared to my husband that I needed a pottery studio and the rest, as they say, is history.

I started Songbird Studio about 10 years ago. I wanted a place where I could create things from my heart and then share these creations with the world. I also love that the studio is at my home in a converted barn so that I can also be there for my children.

you and i have had discussions about being an artist and a mother.  how does your creative work mesh with your role as mother?

I have spent a lot of time wrestling, figuring out and accepting how to mesh this life of artist and mother properly. It is truly a huge balancing act and one that I only can do because I have a wonderful supportive family who encourages me and I have so much gratitude for that. It is very hard to do both and do both well. Being both an artist and a mother means that I have officially become a recovering perfectionist, and I might not create as much work as often as I would like, but it also means I get to do things like filling my daughters room with balloons so the floor is covered with them when she wakes for her 10th birthday.  There are pros and cons to it all. But being an artist is in my blood, it’s a soul calling I can’t stop being a creative even if I wanted to. I’ve always been an artist even when I tried to deny that about myself so I’ve reconciled with myself that I am an artist who is also a mom. I wouldn’t feel as whole if I tried to just be a mom only. I think there is a real stigma in our society about choosing to do something besides being a mother especially if the thing you want to be is an artist. I think that it is seen by some as being selfish. Truthfully, I think being able to be an artist and sharing my work actually helps me to be a better mother. I appreciate my time in the studio as much as I appreciate my time being a mom because all of it is limited, special and helps bring into focus the need to be present and mindful of all the moments. Being an artist fulfills me in a way that brings me joy and happiness and that in turn ripples back to my family.

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do you prefer throwing on the wheel or working off the wheel?

I actually like both and I can’t say I have a preference to one over the other. It’s more for me about the ability to be able to create whatever it is I have in my mind. So that may require me to do some hand building and some throwing and combine both methods or it may require just one.

My love lines for example are all hand built**. Where as my mindfulness mugs are all thrown. But my sheep knitting bowls and minis are both thrown and handbuilt. A lot of times I’ll throw things and then I’ll add handbuilt sculptural aspects to my peices. Being able to do both allows me the most versatility.
**see next photo

do you have a favorite method of firing?  or favorite glazes?  what do you love making?

I mostly use my electric kilns and commercial glazes. I do also have a Raku kiln that my husband built for me. Raku is a completely different firing process where pieces are removed from the kiln while still glowing red hot and then placed in a container with combustible materials which interact with the glazes in very unpredictable ways. I’ve not done a Raku firing in a while but I’m hoping to do some more in the early spring. Also, I’ve recently started using porcelain and am in the process of developing my style with this clay. I am excited to be trying some new things out. Ceramics is a very precarious art form which is not for faint of heart. Its a very lengthy process and there are many steps along the way for the work to be destroyed. Ceramics has a lot a lessons to teach.

I love making it all truthfully… But if I had to say right now, I am really especially enjoying see my mindfulness mugs and bowls getting out into the world. I think because I especially like the idea behind them.

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you use words on many of your pieces.  from where does the inspiration for that come?

Mostly my inspiration comes from my own journey of self-discovery, self-love and a sprinkle of play thrown in for good measure. I make things that come from my heart and that are inspired by love. I make things that I think personally would be useful, beautiful and bring that love in my heart out into the greater world.

A couple of years ago I found out about this scientist, Masaru Emoto, who did these amazing experiments with water. His results and photographs inspired me to create my mindfulness mugs. We are all coming to understand more and more about how all of life is interconnected and that our personal thoughts have far greater impact on one another then we’ve ever realized. I created these mugs and bowls with the idea that whatever they were holding was infused with the message imprinted in the clay.

All my work with words is meant to help you stay mindful and infuse your life with the spirit of our interconnectedness.

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now for a few fun ones…

what did you eat for breakfast? 

I usually get up early in the morning and have a nut bar and then later I have a true breakfast/lunch meal with a cup of tea, and today it is a navel orange and a peice of homemade zucchini casserole.

do you have a favorite day of the week? 

My favorite day is Saturday because that’s when my family is all together

what’s your favorite color to wear? 

I love wearing shades of purple and lavender… It’s my favorite color.

if you close your eyes right now, what word comes to mind? 

Peace

and finally
alisha has a special offering for you.  read on…

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When you purchase a beautiful piece from Songbird Studio between Dec.5th and Dec.31st, you’ll receive an exclusive “Songbird Studio Heart Print ” designed for your altar, or to carry as a talisman in your pocket, give to your sweetie as a reminder of your love, keep on your desk or window sill as a beacon of love. The choice will be up to you. Simply use promo code “HeartPrint” at check out. Only while supplies last.

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Alisha is an ceramic artist who loves creating unique beautiful environments. She is also a wife and mother to two incredible children and one wonderful kitty. When she’s not getting her hands dirty with clay she also enjoys photography, painting, sewing and writing. She is always looking for ways to embrace creativity in the everyday moments of life.

you can find alisha at songbird studio
and on her blog, news from the nest
on instagram
and on facebook

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20 thoughts on “an interview + a special gift = a whole lotta goodness {alisha hastings-kimball}

  1. Hi Alisha! (Waves) loved reading and learning more about you here in this space. I can see why you and Michelle get along so well. You both seem to have such gentle spirits. It will be interesting to follow you As you kids get older and more independent where your art will take you. Xo Kelly

  2. Again I smile when I use the word community because truly this is a community of artists and friends. It was so nice to learn more about Alisha because I must have taken a different Now You class than her and so I didn’t know her until I went on the PNW retreat where yes, she was spoke of and you too Michelle both very fondly, things were spoke about the pair of you. So I had to then track down Alisha and again it’s so nice to meet new people through the people we already know.

    1. Tracie, it is so very wonderful to have connected with you. I am thrilled to be a part of this community of artists and friends. I hope we get the opportunity to meet in ‘real’ life one day.

  3. Alisha- I throughly enjoyed reading more about your creative process. I imagine you must be a very patient person, for as you said, there are a lot of steps in ceramics! And, how wonderful that your family is fully supportive of your art. xo

    1. Thank you so much B! I don’t know how patient I am, perhaps I am more patient then I realize. ;) It nice you can appreciate how involved ceramics is. I am truly lucky to have the support I do. I know that not everyone has it from their family. xo

  4. Ah! What a fun interview! And it sparked the creativity within me…as you both often do.
    I’m jealous that you’ve both met in ‘real’ life. Maybe someday I’ll meet you both. ;)
    I love that your husband built the raku kiln for you, Alisha! What a partnership.
    Thanks for this, Michelle.
    XO

    1. Vanessa, you are a sweetie and I have full faith that we will met in ‘real’ life one day and hug! I am very blessed to have a wonderful mister. He enjoys doing things like building raku kilns. He was just looking for an excuse to have to build me one. lol!

  5. Pingback: Songbird Studio

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