I've been a fan of Osa's bright and practical statement ceramics since I first discovered them at DNO. I admire Osa's dedication to her craft, and the way she has grown what started as a self-taught hobby into her livelihood! Her pieces are some of my favorites, and I can often be found sipping tea in my studio out of a big terra cotta mug she made. It's a pleasure to interview our latest Smoke Sister Osa Atoe!
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your work, and where we can find you?
My name is Osa Atoe and I’ve been living in Louisiana for ten years. I started taking community wheel throwing lessons six years ago when I still lived in New Orleans and started selling my work two years after that. I make earthy, modern, functional pottery with red clay. My pottery features lots of geometric patterning from line carving or the application of stamps, which I also make myself.
Where were you in life ten years ago, and did you ever see yourself where you are now?
Ten years ago, I was preparing to move to New Orleans. I’d been living in Portland, Oregon touring with my band for two years before that. Punk rock and music making was my whole life back then, but I thought I was coming to New Orleans to settle down and maybe become a teacher. I ended up getting back into music and show booking and didn’t end up touching clay for another four years after that. So, no, I had no idea I’d end up where I am today.
Self-care: What is one non-negotiable self-care ritual that you try to regularly attend to?
Meditation, stretching, and taking breaks. I go through periods when I meditate daily, sometimes twice, but I’m in a phase right now where I’m doing it about every other day. I’m at the point with it where I can feel when I just need to do it, so it’s become pretty non-negotiable. Also, during my workday, I take periodic five minute breaks to do hand, wrist and back stretches. I don’t want to get carpal tunnel, and it just feels nice. I do lots of self care stuff but don’t want to bore you with the list. I’m not a parent, and I work for myself so I figure I should use that flexibility to be nice to my mind and my body.
Nature: We take great inspiration from travel & nature. What is the most inspiring natural place you've ever been to and why?
The first place that comes to mind is Rocky Brook Falls in Washington state. We went there last summer after our friends’ wedding in Orcas Island. I’m actually not sure if I would describe it as inspiring, but it was just really refreshing and cold, and I needed that after the last few months of oppressive heat and humidity in New Orleans. I look to nature to give me the feeling of being filled back up or restored, but I don’t typically use it to get art ideas.
What is your favorite Smoke product?
I love the DIY sugar scrub!