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Meet Trailblazer Nicole Novena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Novena.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Nicole. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
The first time I tried my hand at the wheel, I was in high school and instantly fell in love. However, I never imagined it being anything more than enjoyment. So, off to college and corporate America but ceramics was always in the background… a creative outlet for life. Fast forward 20 years later and all that time spent testing glazes and creating forms has finally started to make sense.

In mid-2016, after moving to California, I launched CLAY + CRAFT. Since then my work has been commissioned for television commercials, served in restaurants and can be found in homes across the United States.

I’ve always been drawn to timeless, modern design, even since my clay covered journey began in high school. My philosophy for CLAY + CRAFT is simple; Create thoughtfully designed, delightfully useful, beautifully understated, timeless goods to be shared and enjoyed for years to come.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
LOL. It certainly hasn’t been a smooth road. Pottery is about persistence… it takes a bunch of trial and error and it operates on its own schedule. It cracks, shrinks, breaks… etc. It’s not the easiest way to may a living but over the past few years, I’ve started to figure out the magic equation. It’s beyond challenging, filled with highs and lows but rewarding. I often ask myself, why am I doing this… my corporate gig was much easier. But, the next day I’m back at it because I for whatever reason I innately need to create (I’m not sure if its a blessing or a curse) and want to continue making CLAY + CRAFT a success.

As for advice for others, it takes work, years of work. Be it in creating your product, marketing it, selling it…etc. It’s easy to scroll through social media feeds and see the illusion of instant success but that’s few and far between so don’t get discouraged. Hone your skill, once you feel it’s market worthy, just start. You’ll learn as you go and with work, it will slowly coming together. Just keep at it.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about CLAY + CRAFT – what should we know?
I create modern ceramics + pottery. My collection ranges from dinnerware, drinkware and home decor and includes coffee mugs, tea/wine/whiskey cups, wine/whiskey/water carafes, plates, bowls, succulent planters and vases. It’s handcrafted in my home studio in Cardiff by the Sea, CA.

I take a less is more approach with each piece. It’s thoughtfully designed, timeless and simple. It is a nice balance of modern and minimal coupled with a naturally refined, handmade feel. It fits with a various home aesthetics and styles.

I love that my work is useful and plays a role in my clients/customers daily lives. I hope they enjoy their drinking or dining experience a little more in part to my handcrafted goods.

What sets CLAY + CRAFT apart; It’s functional art. It’s essential to our daily lives but aesthetically pleasing. It looks good, feels good and functions well.

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well positioned for?
Yes! There are more small business resources than ever right now and new outlets popping up for women to seek support, advice and expertise so we need to utilize what’s available today. I don’t waste time thinking about negatives or challenges. I subscribe to the idea of “Do what you need to do today to get to where you need to be tomorrow.”

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Andrew Reilly, CLAY + CRAFT, Andrew Reilly, Megan Murray, Carafe + Cup Set Image – CLAY + CRAFT, Feather & Stone Photography

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