Creative Collective | Marilyne Blais.

Creative Collective is a blog series where I interview my favorite creatives.

Marilyne Blais - Interview

What led you to what you are doing now? Can you share a little bit about your creative journey?

Being the kid that "can draw well" was always a central pillar of my identity growing up. When I was young, I was (still am) pretty introverted. Being good at art was the one thing that made me feel confident and seen by others so I think because of that, I always just stuck with it. This led me to go to art school – I did a bachelor and a master in visual arts at Concordia (MTL, Canada)  and UBC ( Vancouver, Canada) - During that time I experimented a lot with different mediums and mainly made installations and sculptures. At the time, I think I was just so sure that I had found my vocation, I was pretty naive and didn't even think about what I would do once graduating or how I would eventually make a living. Like a lot of people, after art school I had to find ways to pay my bills while still maintaining my practice. I found myself working a lot of odd art admins jobs that paid really bad. I also did some freelance graphic design on the side to make a means-end. Within a couple years, I had been slowly falling off of making art and became pretty delusioned with the art world in general. Around that time, I decided to try a ceramic class to get back to working with my hands. It was totally out of the blue..but I fell in love instantly and just became very quickly obsessed with it. Since that, things have just snowballed. I think I am fundamentally someone who likes making things...and I think I just like that as a ceramicist I can make functional objects without the pressure of having to think about a meaningful concept behind it. 

What's your favorite part about what you do? 

I always had an affinity for mediums that are heavily process based. I love the slow transformative nature of ceramics. There are so many steps to arrive at the final product and I think I just love how involved it is and how easily I can get lost in the task at hands. It makes me feel very connected to the present moment. 

What about the most challenging part? 

Lol. Everything. So many things can go wrong with ceramics because of how involved the process is. It's what I love about what I do, but it is also what drives me crazy sometimes. I had many instances when I opened a kiln to find weeks of hard work ruined at the last possible step by something I could not control or could not have predicted...or also sometimes because I got a bit too confident and made a careless mistake. I definitely had to learn to manage my expectations the hard way.

What are you currently working on & how can we get involved?

2020 has been so strange and such a logistical nightmare! I normally pride myself on being very organized but for the first time since starting my business, I am behind with work. Mainly because of so many things being delayed or postponed by the lockdown. Right now is the busy season for wholesale orders, so I am mostly trying to get my stockists sorted for the beginning of the holiday season. I also have been building my own stock slowly for my own online shop for a while. I am hoping to re-launch the new site and a shop before the end of the year if everything goes to plan. 

What advice would you give to anyone that is starting out?  

I think it may be the most obvious advice, but you really need to love what you do. You have to love it enough to not count the hours you are putting in.

What's next for your business?

The next step is to launch the online shop. I am sure this will keep me busy for a while! I also would love to eventually take time off from my intense production schedule and develop new products. I have lots of ideas for larger objects and would love to experiment with making furniture and more sculptural objects. 

Marilyne's shop & Instagram