In this Makers post I'm delighted to introduce you to Janet, the creative maker behind "Hinkleville", based here in Toronto. Janet makes the most adorable little mini planters I have ever seen. I came across her work on instagram a while ago and was besotted immediately. I knew I needed to have her work in the shop, and I am so happy to now be a regular stockist of her pieces ( and the only one in the city located north of Bloor street!) I sent Janet a few questions about her space and process:
Jess: Tell us about your work space- do you have a dedicated studio or do you carve out space where you can when you need? What does it look like?
Janet: Up until July 1st my workspace was very makeshift and spread across my entire apartment. However, recently, I have had the opportunity to rent studio space in the Parkdale Akin Collective location. The Parkdale space is very loft like and space is divided by the square foot to make up each artist's own studio area. It definitely beats having clay all over my home.
More about Akin via Akin:
"AKIN organizations- Akin Collective (Studios) and Akin Projects (Arts and Community Programming).
Akin Collective is an art studio and shared workspace with studios in Parkdale, Bloordale Village and Junction Triangle. The collective provides affordable space to about 160 creatives across ten studios with a friendly and inspiring atmosphere suitable for creative endeavours and entrepreneurial undertakings of all kinds.
Akin Projects is a registered nonprofit established for the purpose of providing both creative and professional development opportunities to members of Toronto’s artistic and cultural community. We have offered services to over 3,000 individuals across the city since our inception in 2015."
Jess: what are your tools of the trade?
Janet: When dealing with ceramics there are two different kinds of tools that are necessary to complete any single piece. First you have tools that are used by hand (carving tools, casting molds, potter's wheel, etc..) these are all used when forming a new piece. Second, you have the tools that are necessary for finishing a piece to a desired look (i.e.: a pottery wheel for trimming, glazing tools, a kiln for firing, etc...).
Jess: Share a little about the process involved in your work
Janet: When creating a new piece from scratch I usually like to jump right into the sculpting process (I never made using a sketchbook much of a habit). I love how I can start with a lump of clay and immediately form it into a bowl, cup, planter, etc... and go on from there. The process doesn't end there though, half of the fun comes after the clay has been molded into it's initial form and is at the 'leather hard' stage (leather hard: unfired pottery or greenware, that has dried and hardened to a point that it can be trimmed and/or decorated). I really enjoy working at the 'leather hard' stage because you can take a simple form like a planter and add texture, colour, etc... This is the stage where each piece really becomes its own unique form.
Jess: Where do you look for inspiration?
Janet: I tend to look for inspiration everywhere but often find it in the same few places. For texture inspiration, I tend to find it in fashion design and/or architecture (I often experiment with fabrics by pressing them into the clay surface to create new textures). For form, colour and pattern inspiration, I tend to look back at what potters from the mid century were doing; I really love the simplicity of the form combined with the repetition, and complexity of the patterns from the 1960's, the funky colours they were using are also pretty amazing.
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Janet has a great social media feed, you can follow along with her on instagram here.
I carry several colours of Hinkleville mini planters, potted up with cacti and succulents, and happily now have some of Janet's gorgeous mugs in stock too.