Hand Thrown ceramic vases by Katie Robbins.

Creative Chats ~ Katie Robbins – potter

We have had some wonderful creative businesses enrol on our online course and come along to our Pinterest Workshops. We have so enjoyed connecting with them online and in person and thought it would be great to share our creative chats with you here on our blog!

We have reached out to these artists and makers to share their small business story with us. Details of their creative process, where they find inspiration and the highs and lows of running their own business.

Katie Robbins from KT Robbins Ceramics

Our 8th Creative Chat is with potter Katie Robbins, creating luxury items for mindful everyday moments.

What is your favourite thing to create and do you have a favourite creation, one that your most proud of?

My favourite things to make are my budvases. I’m proud to be able to make them as they take skill to produce and they are the perfect partner to garden blooms. It’s so pleasurable to be able to pick a few blooms from the garden and display them for an instant way to make our homes pretty and to lift our moods.

Handcrafted ceramic vase made from porcelain by Katie Robbins

What’s in your creation toolbox?

I’m not quite sure what this question means? If it’s a physical toolbox – then I make my creations on a pottery wheel. If it’s more about asking where I get my inspiration from – then its all around me. I’ve recently been reading Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artist Way’ – which is a series of exercises designed to unlock your creativity and give your artist more confidence. It’s been interesting to see how to unlock creativity through a series of meditative exercises and how it really helps to have a clear mind to then go ahead and explore other ideas. It’s hard to sum up in a few lines as there is so much more that the Artist Way does. But it basically encourages you to open up to ideas and to nourish your inner artist – I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who wants an extra boost, or is thinking of doing something completely different but doesn’t have the courage to start.

What do you enjoy about running your business and find easy?

I love working for myself! Setting my own targets and deadlines; being free to follow my own creative urges. I love having the flexibility of working from home (especially during lockdown) so I can prepare lunches and be on hand if the teenage kids need extra support. I’ve always had a strong idea that I’m not just marketing a product, it’s a brand and a personal story, and I think that has helped build a strong Instagram profile which has been useful for marketing my business.

What don’t you enjoy and find difficult, what are the obstacles?

I actually don’t enjoy taking all my product photos! I like taking ‘pretty pictures for Instagram’ and although I am ok at taking photos I think website photos need to be so crisp, and it takes me so long to do this and edit them. I now prefer to outsource this, even though I still like to have editorial control about the mood and style of the photos.

My biggest obstacle is working by myself as I do find it gets lonely, and I need that human interaction. So I do try and plan in ‘artist-dates’ / coffee catch ups with friends, (and I’ve been missing those the most during lockdown).

Who is your perfect / ideal customer and what do they value from you?

The ideal customer is the one that returns and loves to collect my work. People say that they find my work very calming and that they love the colour palette I use. People often use my work as a self-treat; the expectation of receiving one of my pieces is like giving yourself a well deserved present.

I make sure that the packaging is beautiful so that people can really savour their purchases from me.

Can you tell us about your creative process?

My work is formed on the wheel using porcelain clay. I like exploring the soft tactile nature of porcelain, sometimes keeping it completely smooth; other times using how the wheel works, to leave behind subtle ripples of clay as a reminder of how the object has been formed.

Potter Katie Robbins working at her wheel.

Where do you work from and do you work on your own?

I am lucky to have a garden studio, adjacent to my home so that I can enjoy being close to nature and the outside environment whilst working.

Where does your design inspiration come from?

The colours that I use often have their inspiration in colours that I have seen in nature – the soft pinks of rose petals, the pale greens of lichen and leaves, the vibrant blues of the sky and sea. In terms of shapes I am drawn to softer designs and curves without too many hard angles.

Do you have any work in progress you’re excited about and you like to share with us?

I always tend to have a new project that I’m excited about… I’ve only recently started making mugs and I’ve loved being able to make something practical that people can take pleasure out of using everyday. I’ve just started to extend this range with some ‘belly button’ sugar bowls, and next will be little pourers and I’m still trying to refine my teapot. Teapots are one of the most challenging items to make as a potter as there are so many different components which are needed, and they also have so much character!

Do you have any work in progress you’re excited about and you like to share with us?

I always tend to have a new project that I’m excited about… I’ve only recently started making mugs and I’ve loved being able to make something practical that people can take pleasure out of using everyday. I’ve just started to extend this range with some ‘belly button’ sugar bowls, and next will be little pourers and I’m still trying to refine my teapot. Teapots are one of the most challenging items to make as a potter as there are so many different components which are needed, and they also have so much character!

Hand thrown porcelain teapot by Katie Robbins.

What are your passions and interests?

One of things I’ve learnt is that an individual  you can’t be your best self if you are not looking after yourself first. This isn’t a selfish outlook, it’s what I’ve learned from motherhood and beyond. My garden gives me a lot of pleasure as plants and seedlings come to life; I’m concerned about the environment and in my business have switched to recyclable packaging. I’ve always been interested in food, and trying to find healthy and delicious ways to eat – especially at weekends. I was diagnosed pre-diabetic last year, so I’ve been investigating lots of grain dishes – Ottolenghi’s dishes are a particular favourite.

What was the biggest take away from doing our Pinterest course?

The biggest takeaway is that I need more text on my Pins. The ones that have been most successful up to now have been blogposts about my studio or sharing my knowledge about selling – which are quite broad subjects. I have previously just pinned products from my website, but I see now that’s not really enough – you need to spell out exactly what you are selling in an eye-catching way, with text.

Would you like to learn more about how to use Pinterest to grow your creative business? Check out the following:

Creative Chats with Katie Robbins from KT Robbins Ceramics by Curly Carrot Digital Marketing