Michele Quan designs and sculpts handmade ceramic art and objects for the home and garden. Michele started making ceramics in 2005, launching her best selling bells with an installation at Love Adorned in 2011. Her ceramics are a canvas for her love of drawing, painting, text and color. Many of the objects and images are rooted in the visual symbols of Eastern iconography – their meaning and beauty of which she is continuously in awe. Her work is an ongoing attempt to articulate that wonder.
Where are your products made? Everything is made by hand, painted by hand & assembled by production artists at my studio in Brooklyn. I try to source all ‘out of studio’ components ethically. The wood components are made out of reclaim from a furniture maker, the rope and twine are natural hemp.
What are the challenges selling online compared to a physical store? For me, when I shop online, it’s simply the fact that I can’t touch it, it’s not a tactile experience. It seems that most people who order my work from my online store, have seen it in person already.
What are the advantages? Because I make everything to order, people can view and choose from a wide range of work, if they are willing to wait a few weeks.
Who are your customers? I think my customers range from the cosmically inclined to ‘design’ people.
Who inspires you? Patti Smith, Pema Chodron, Neil Young, the Dalai Lama, Charles Bukowski…so many more.
What inspires you? Words, Quotes, Movies, Stories, Buddhist art & teachings, symbols, the sun the moon and the stars & our natural world, interdependence, connection, impermanence.
Before I was a ceramicist: I was a jeweler, model, waitress, bartender, procrastinator.
The hardest lesson learned in starting a business? Without being dramatic, they are all hard lessons, but for me, thinking/planning ahead.
What task do you like to delegate? I actually like to do most of it, but only delegate because I can’t do it all and I HATE rushing and feeling overwhelmed.
If you weren’t a ceramicist, you would be.. A ranger, hiker, bartender on a beautiful island, yoga teacher, comparative religion professor, mid-wife, musician, ….so many things.
What is your perfect day off? Resisting the urge to open up my computer and look at my phone. Get up early, go for a beautiful but strenuous hike, see the sunset, go home, drink a glass of wine and get a full nights sleep.
Favorite neighborhood coffee shop & restaurant: Café Gitane at 8:30am on a Saturday. I take Elsie, and we are the first, by the time we leave it’s packed. Lovely Day basement bar. Yakitori Tora on Kenmare.
I wish I could…live in the country, have a huge barn for my studio, a garden, a fire pit, drink my coffee outside looking at the trees.
On the Future of Retail
“No clue! I feel like people still like to see some things in person.”