When we first met Justine and Grant at an art festival a year ago, there was an immediate connection. Beyond their beautiful ceramics, we just like who they are as people, which is why we are so excited about this collaboration.
Justine and Grant are a couple, like Patsy and Ted here at Prosperity Candle... so you can imagine the stories and laughs shared about the ups and downs of working with your life partner. Maybe that's at the heart of the close connection.
Their studio is in another old mill building about 20 minutes from ours, so we have that in common, too. In this cozy, light-filled space, they create wonderfully textured vessels and hand-painted pieces for the home. We are absolutely thrilled to be working with Justine and Grant on our two new artisan candles: Linnea Centerpiece and Linnea Gold. We love the elegant details that mark their style and their unique creative process.
A few days ago they happily offered to share a glimpse into what goes on at Tandem Ceramics.
1. We are excited to be collaborating with you a year after our first meeting. Justine, how long have you been working in ceramics and what brought you to it?
I've has been working with clay since high school and college, but more seriously as a potter since 2011. I have a BFA in Ceramics and Grant, a BFA in Printmaking and Photography. Grant only came into clay because of this collaboration which began almost four years ago. He picked it up fast!
2. So you two are a wife and husband duo. When and how did your creative collaboration start? What is your creative process usually like?
It started in the fall of 2014 when we realized we wanted to be working for ourselves full-time. We launched a Kickstarter to help get us going, and it was successful! We designed our line making sure the forms were clean, simple, and conducive to having imagery added to them. All of the pieces we make are designed to serve a particular function, and we make things we want to have ourselves. For example, we wanted a planter that would fit on a windowsill, so we made one. We wanted some new dinner plates, and now we have them. We continue to create new pieces in this way, that serve both utility and aesthetic needs.
3. Can you tell us about the name you chose, Tandem Ceramics? What does it mean to you?
Our name, Tandem Ceramics, stems from the concept of working together side by side, but specifically the idea of combining imagery and ceramics. We've been asked many times and the answer is still "No, we do not ride a tandem bicycle!" We have been working together for years, both in our business and even before that at different jobs. People ask us if it's easy or difficult to have a business together as a couple, and honestly we wouldn't have it any other way.
4. Do you have any philosophies or quotes you work by?
"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” - Goethe
We wouldn't have Tandem Ceramics without this concept.
5. What is it like to be an artist living in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts?
Seeing working artists in the Valley is literally the reason we moved here! The community of artists, as well as patrons of the arts, makes it possible for us to do what we do. We love our building and the people in it. The Arts and Industry Building is actually one of the first buildings we happened upon on a trip to Northampton, and we weren't sure what it was. The thing that caught our eye is "Art Saves" written on the front of the building. We knew we were in the right place.
7. Is there anything you’d like to share about the two Linnea vessels we are pouring our new candles in?
Collaborating is always fun... seeing something you've made but with a slight twist to fulfill a specific function. We've been dying for someone to make a candle in our Linnea Windowsill Planters because the shape is so perfect for it. It will be great to see it come to life, and the elegance of it as a centerpiece on someone's table.
Thank you, Justine & Grant! We love working with you, love walking into your studio to see what goes into each handmade piece, and really love your Linnea design!
With hand painted 22-carat gold on porcelain, the Linnea Gold adds just the perfect accent of elegance to any room.
Decorate your dining room table, mantle piece or windowsill with the Linnea's gorgeous four wick glow.
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