When did you first start your craft? I started working with clay in 2004. How did you discover your talent? I had some basic training in hand building with clay, but I’m mostly untrained and a lot of my early attempts at sculpture came out looking striking, but also very raw. For years I thought of my work as something like Dada, as anti-art that mocked or attacked the sensibilities of the viewer. Mostly by trial and error, I was able to refine my techniques to create clay objects that many people found attractive and unique. Some other people told me it was art and I chose to believe them.
The name is pretty cool, what made you decide on this?
It’s a Dungeons and Dragons reference. The monsters with multiple tentacles, eyes, and toothy mouths were called aberrations. A lot of my clay pieces have similar features.
What drives you to create?
I have no idea. It just happens.
How do you get inspired?
I’m not very spontaneous. I usually have an image or model of something I want to interpret. I get a lot of ideas from Richard Huber’s Treasury of Fantastic and Mythological Creatures. I often look at the line drawings in the old D&D Monster Manuals. Sometimes I find images of interesting fossil invertebrates online.
How would you describe your style?
Highly detailed, but still somewhat raw.
What is your favorite part about your creative process?
My favorite part is getting back created work when it comes out the way I was hoping although I also like the amusing discrepancies between how I expect something to come out and how it actually comes out. I like when nothing breaks and nothing explodes.
What are your favorite items? I like the hand-built slab pots I've been making recently. I have one with a sculpted meerkat on the lid which is one of my favorites. My favorite piece I currently have on Etsy is the Baby Head Menorah.
What environment do you like to work in? I like to go to the pottery studio in the evening when no one else is there and stay until 1:00 or 2:00 AM. If I’m there when other people are working, I listen to music to drown them out. I’m easily distracted.
Do you listen to music while you work, and if so what do you listen to?
I like a variety of musical styles played at random: soundtracks such as the Star Wars films and the Wicker Man, mutated punk psychedelia like Alice Donut, 70s funk like Kool & the Gang, absurdly melodic pop like Hansen or the Jackson 5, perennial classic rock like the Beatles and Pink Floyd, hippie musicals like Godspell and Hair, a lot of late 80s alternative rock like the Pixies and the Sugarcubes.
How much time do you spend in the studio?
About 20 hours a week.
Who are some of your biggest influences, artistically or personally?
I feel indebted to Lewis Carroll. There’s a woman in Australia who is constructing all of the entries from the AD&D Monster Manual, in alphabetical order, from scraps of old pants. I admire that kind of methodology. I feel influenced by the illustrators of the old D&D books. The unnamed geniuses behind awkward science fiction aliens in rubber suits are always inspiring. I admire the gruesome honesty of R. Crumb.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a series of menorahs made from slabs of clay. Some of them look relatively normal, with pleasing geometric patterns. Others have molded doll heads or Star Wars references.
What are your plans for the near future?
I would love to have my own space to work with my own kiln. It would be nice to be able to do art at any time of day instead of when the studio is empty. It would be nice to have complete control over the firing process instead of relying on other people to handle (and sometimes mishandle) my work.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
I like this quote from Andy Warhol: “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
Who would play you in the movie version of your life? I think an advanced animatronic puppet would be great. Someone else suggested Daniel Day-Lewis.
Describe your work in three words. Someone on DeviantArt described it as primeval, Voodoo, Lovecraft.
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Candice is a self-taught jewelry artist who specializes in personalized and heirloom handcrafted jewelry. She drinks entirely too much coffee and can be spotted tripping over her own feet on several occasions. Candice currently lives in North Carolina with her husband Daniel and together they run a private dog rescue.