Maker Profile: The Object Enthusiast
The Object Enthusiast is ceramic artist Emily Reinhardt. Emily’s artful vessels and objects are made to find a way into your home and enrich your daily rituals. Her vases, planters, dishes and other ceramic pieces celebrate serendipity with perfectly imperfect details and splashes of gold. Emily studied ceramics at Kansas State University and has been practicing her craft for almost a decade. She’s a Midwest gal, but her work has is adored all over the country (and beyond!). Emily talks with us about her work with clay, the meaning of home, what’s growing in her garden, and more.
What inspires your work?
I’m incredibly inspired by homelife and what that means to different people. I love getting a chance to see the homes of people close to me; the objects they keep close, the way they decorate, the plants that live with them, the things they use every day. Home is such a ritualistic place, and I love getting a peek into everyday practices that take place there. Home is so tangible for me, so it’s all of those little things at home that I find really special.
Are there objects that define home to you personally?
A lot of my most treasured objects happen to be ceramic, but made by other people. I am lucky to call so many other ceramic artists my friends, and owning a small piece of work from people I know and love is really meaningful to me. I’m lucky enough to own two small sculptures that my professor Yoshi Ikeda made. He passed away a few years ago and owning some of his work means the world to me. He’s the reason I found a love for ceramics and he’s the reason I’ve made it this far.
What do you find most rewarding about what you do?
I feel incredibly lucky to get to do what I do every day. It’s incredibly rewarding to walk through my studio door each day and see what I’ve built. The hard days will always be worth it, because my job is such a treasure to me.
Do you ever have days you don’t want to put hours in the studio? How do you combat that?
I definitely have days where the studio is the last place I want to be. Ceramics used to be my hobby, and now it’s my career and livelihood, so there’s a whole new spin on what it means to me now. I made a big effort in 2017 to find new hobbies that I love and that keep me interested and busy. (One of which was gardening!)
What is your favorite thing about working with clay?
The possibilities are seemingly endless to me. There is so much I don’t know, and so much that I do know. It feels like a medium that I will never get tired of, and one that I will never truly master. That always keeps me inspired.
What object would you like to create that you’ve never made before?
I’d really love to get better at wheel-thrown bowls. I’ve done a lot of coil built and slab built bowl work, but the wheel is still something I need a lot of practice with. I am also trying to build strength for getting some larger work produced. It isn’t easy!
You recently collaborated on the design of dinnerware for Corvino Supper Club. What was that experience like? Had you created dinnerware pieces before?
This was my first experience working on dinnerware! I hope it’s not my last. The process of working with another artist, chef Michael Corvino, in a totally different medium and meeting in the middle to collaborate is truly special. I stretched my own skills and knowledge and walked away learning a lot. I hope to be working on other dinnerware collections in the future!
Where do you start when designing a piece for the first time?
I don’t like to sketch very much, I prefer to dive straight into building something. So when I’m prototyping something new, I’d rather build 5 failed attempts first, rather than have to try to convey something two-dimensionally.
What do you do with the so-called failed attempts?
Sometimes I give them away to studio visitors. I am planning on having a big seconds and sample sale very soon, and then a lot of things end up being destroyed. Sometimes I don’t like the piece enough that I won’t let anyone have it. I’ll break it and pretend it never happened!
What does your ideal morning look like?
A cup of coffee and walking my dog, Ruby! And then spending time in the garden.
That sounds perfect! What are you growing in your garden right now?
I’ve had great success with tomatoes and cucumbers this summer! My first eggplants are starting to show up, and I’ve also enjoyed several peppers. The zucchini is the only thing that I managed to mess up. They got a little crowded and died, but we managed to pull one giant zucchini from the batch of plants.
Where’s your favorite place to eat in Kansas City?
My life would never be the same again if I couldn’t go buy bread by the slice from Heirloom, so I’ll have to say that’s my favorite place to eat in Kansas City.
What is something that a ton of people are obsessed with but you just don’t get the point of?
GAME OF THRONES. I don’t even know what to say about it.
I can’t agree with you there but I do envy the hours you’ve saved! Is there anything you binge on instead?
I’ve been heavily invested in a handful of podcasts lately, one of which is Up and Vanished. So I can relate to the feeling of needing to know where a story is headed.
We can’t wait to see what you create next! Thanks for taking time to chat with us.