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Meet Nicole Sage of Nicole Sage Ceramics in Roxbury

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

Nicole, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I come from a very creative family so, from a young age, I was exposed to all forms of art. It was about 20 years ago, however, that I first fell in love with clay and knew it would always be a part of my life.

My high school art teacher had only one kick wheel and a couple electric wheels which not many of the kids took advantage of, but I remember that was the only place I wanted to be and couldn’t get enough.

I began taking ceramic classes at IS183 Art School in the Berkshires where I grew up and it wasn’t long after that I owned my first (and still used to this day) Shimpo wheel. I’ve dragged that (very heavy!) wheel everywhere with me and continued to explore the art of clay. When I moved to Boston in 2008, I joined Feet of Clay Pottery in Brookline Village where I still work part-time.

This past year, I’ve built a studio in my home in Roxbury where I do the majority of my work but plan to stay apart of FOC because I love the community of creative makers altogether. I had always worked with clay simply because of how good it made me feel. It really is a way (for me) to escape and allow myself to let go. I found that I really enjoyed creating thoughtfully designed, functional vessels and as they piled up, people started asking me if they could buy some.

It started with friends and family, then quickly grew as I participated in pop up markets around the Boston area. I am extremely grateful for all the support and where I’ve gotten to with my pottery, while still allowing it to be my ‘escape’ and my passion. That to me is most important.

Has it been a smooth road?
In my opinion, there is always going to be some struggles along the way when you’re passionate about something. The hardest challenge for me is finding my balance. My life is not just composed of ceramics and being in the studio whenever I want.

I am a full-time graphic designer, I have a life partner, a dog, friends, and family I want to visit on the weekends, a passion for traveling the world and I don’t do as much yoga as I wish I did. There are days, weeks and months that things in my life get neglected as I am preparing for a market or completing orders.

And vice versa, I might be enjoying 2 weeks away with my husband in Nicaragua (which I’m very grateful for being able to travel like this) but that is 2 weeks not in the studio which is really hard for me. I think this is the struggle for anyone, especially creatives, but we do our best and try to find the balance.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Nicole Sage Ceramics – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I create hand thrown and slab built functional vessels using inspiration from nature, raw materials, minimalism, and world travels. Each object I create is thoughtfully designed from scratch and meant to maintain a unique personality of its own. I do not mass produce anything, it’s mostly small batches and I love that each one has its own individual characteristics – whether it’s imprinted from my hands or how I dipped something at a different angle into the glaze.

I specialize in/known for making modern pieces in nude color tones and earth tones. I typically leave a good amount of exposed clay when I glaze because the color and texture of that raw clay is so beautiful to me and adds another layer to the story behind the piece. Aside from my spice/jewelry/smudge bowls, an array of planters and bud vases and comfortable mugs, I also make a line of what I call ‘taco necklaces’ which I found to be popular. I make them in white porcelain, some with gold detailing, and the newest tacos I’m currently making come in matte black.

I’m most proud of where my work has evolved to when looking back over the past 20 years. It may not be for everyone, but my aesthetic and what I enjoy creating makes me happy. It’s just an added bonus when I see it making other people happy as well.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I mostly like that I can bike everywhere. It’s so nice to be able to jump on my bike for 10 minutes and I’m at the studio in Brookline.

From a small business standpoint, I personally limit how many wholesale accounts I take on, but I love that this city is full of beautifully curated shops who support local makers and carry their work.

What do I like least? That’s a tough one. I suppose it would be nice to see more affordable artist spaces around Boston. It’s hard financially for anyone starting a business but the cost of rent on most places large enough to build a pottery studio in is extremely high.

It would be nice to see more support around affordable spaces to encourage local, handmade goods for our city.

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