Back in December, I was doing a little Christmas shopping at Canopy and came across Eliana Bernard and her beautiful ceramics. If you're not familiar with Austin, one thing that this city does really well is working to support smaller, local businesses. There's a real emphasis on shopping small and supporting local, not just on small business Saturday, but 365 days a year. Eliana was kind enough to take us back to her workspace on the east side and give us an inside peek on her process and her journey as an artist. We chatted about that familiar conundrum of discovering your passion and then figuring out how to make said passion also what sustains you. The path she has taken is probably a familiar one to a lot of us. After studying ceramics at UT here in Austin, she has spent much of her time working for other artists during the typical work week and then dedicating herself to her studio and her own work in the wee hours and on the weekends when others are brunching or going out. Keep reading below for the full interview and for more of Eliana Bernard, and to purchase pieces from her collection, check out her site here...
"I always start by cleaning up the space, getting things in order. At the end of the day I usually leave things a mess, so I like to come in straighten up," Eliana explains as she paces between the two countertops in her East Austin workspace that she shares with a few other artists as well. She goes on to explain that there are two different processes in ceramics. One is the traditional throwing on the wheel (think Ghost!) and slip casting, which is the method she prefers. Slip casting uses slip, which is essentially liquid clay to form into molds, harden and then remove in their final forms before firing. Eliana's signature style is this marbling technique. Clearing having perfected the technique, her fingers apply it so effortlessly, like a toddler with finger paints only with a much more masterful product to show for it.
Eliana first learned ceramics here in Austin while studying at UT, fall 2011, and has been either making ceramics in school, working for other ceramicists, or working on her own product ever since. She debuted her first lace collection during the East Austin studio tour in 2013. It wasn't until more recently that she got into marbling. The creamy marble textures paired with her striking solid teal pieces, both finished with a golden rim are hard to peel your eyes from... and destined for the open shelves in our new kitchen!
Photos of Eliana Bernard by Katie Jameson