Who are you and what do you design?

My name is Karla Strickland and I am the owner/operator of Kay Ceramic and Design. I make contemporary functional and sculptural ceramics, as well I am working on my BA in Psychology at Vancouver Island University.

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Tell us about your journey as an artist.

After taking an introductory ceramic class I became hooked and started to pursue more time in studio, at the time I was cooking for a resort in Tofino, BC and my chef asked me to make a few plates for us to work with. From there it grew more and more until it became a full time business and teaching studio which is where I am at now in my career, I actually can’t picture myself not working with clay anymore, it is kinda like when you say you found your thing, that thing you love to do and can get good at.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I draw my inspiration from following a wabi-sabi aesthetic and way of life. That I can create a beautiful object and it does not have to be perfect but rather unique and full of character, also to create objects that are used and we do not hold heavy attachments to, I want people to enjoy my functional wares as much as possible not shelf them and keep them safe. When I work and am relaxed and experiencing the process rather than attached to a perfected look, I feel I am open to learning and find the objects more personal and aesthetically pleasing.


Have you taken any risks to land where you are now?

I guess the biggest risk I have taken so far has been to make a go creating Kay Ceramics, it felt like a leap of faith to let go of my other jobs and make my own way. Teaching ceramics as well has been a huge fear to overcome, questions of doubt always come up in times of change, but now that I am settled into my studio and lifestyle it seems looking back like it has been a natural progression into doing what I really love to do. But yea the step into the unknown by starting your own business can feel risky, especially when you have a family at home who depends on you.

Is there a designer or brand with whom you’d love to collaborate?

So many amazing potters out there I would love to meet, I am very interested in wood firing so I would love to be able to make a work exchange with someone on the island of course Gordon Hutchens comes to mind, but also an artist residency in Japan would be a dream.

Looking ahead, what do you hope to accomplish?

I hope looking forward that in the short term I am able to keep building my studio and teaching career, as well as develop my connection with my community and help strengthen artisans as well as other potters right here in Ucluelet, BC. Long term forward I have a well established studio and can offer art based therapies as well as ceramic classes once I finish my degree.

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