Today we’d like to introduce you to Abby Rose Mandel.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I’ve been working with clay for close to 20 years. I fell in love with it in high school and it actually caused me to shift my entire career path from pre-med ambitions to Art Education. I received my BFA in Art Education from Michigan State University and moved to Austin TX shortly after graduation.
Over time I have slowly built up my home studio, creating a functional work environment. Piece by piece, one acquisition at a time, I transformed my garage with work tables, a slab roller, plaster molds for slip-casting, and a kiln to fire the work. I finally feel like I’m at a point where I can dedicate a more concerted effort to hone my craft and start to make a name for myself.
I’ve been fortunate to work full time teaching ceramics and other visual arts to high school students in Austin. I hope that I am able to make an impact on my students’ lives in a similar way that my high school art teacher did. Creativity nurtures the soul and connects us in ways that little else can.
Please tell us about your art.
I make porcelain ceramics using slip-casting and hand-building techniques. I create my own plaster molds, and use liquid clay to create cups, bowls, and other wares. By using molds, I am able to better control the uniformity of the shapes, and it allows me more time to spend on glazing and surface decoration. Each piece is individually illustrated and adorned with ceramic decals in a way that is reminiscent of the ink and collage drawings I did on paper earlier in my career. Because I draw everything by hand, the process is often slow and painstaking. There will always be limitations to how much work I am able to make. There is no way to translate this process to mass production.
My imagery is derived from memories of my childhood and family. My grandma had the most beautiful chicken wall paper in her home, and when she passed, the wall paper remnants were split among my sisters and I. The pattern was a crisp black and white, but the details and artistry has always reminded me of copper tjaps (chops) used for transferring wax to fabrics for batiking. These chickens have become the inspiration point for my ceramic illustrations and the type of mark making that I try to emulate.
My work is made to be used, but I also hope it becomes a point of conversation. Some of the imagery is more playful while others are more stream of consciousness and reflect my current wonderings. I believe in the power of objects invoking strong memories, and hope that my work finds a home among the family heirlooms. While the work can be used as your “everyday cup” it is also a piece of fine art, just adorning a non-traditional canvas. It is a way to get fine art into your hands for a visual and tactile experience.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing artists today?
For me personally, the biggest challenge I face is self-promotion. Social Media is an amazing tool, but also over saturated, and I just don’t quite grasp the algorithms needed to make sure me work actually gets seen. I had an amazing art education, and I’ve always continued to learn more to improve my craft, but I wish I had been better educated on the business side of a creative lifestyle.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I sell art work locally in Austin at A-Town Boutique, but the best way to find my ceramics is through Etsy (www.etsy.com/shop/AbbyRoseMandel) and Instagram, or by emailing to set up an appointment to come to my studio.
I have participated in East Austin Studio Tour for 6 years and that is the best way to see both the work and the space which it is created in. Year 7 is coming up this November and its truly one of the most remarkable events I’ve had the privilege to be a part of. My ceramics have been seen at the past as part of the Eye of The Dog Cup Show in Gruene, TX, and at the Cherrywood Art Fair in Austin, TX. This fall, 5 cups will be on display at Charlie Cumming’s Gallery (Gainesville, FL) as part of the Intimate Object XIV Show.
People can support my work (an that of other artists) by shopping local and shopping handmade whenever possible. Follow my journey on Instagram, and please reach out with comments or questions! I would love to hear from you!
- Address: Austin TX, 78702
- Website: www.abbyrosemandel.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @abbyrosemandel_fineart
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/AbbyRoseMandelFineArt
Abby Rose Mandel