We had the good fortune of connecting with Janet Kim and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Janet, how do you think about risk?
In my past life, I was a TV News Anchor/Reporter. The risks I took were tangible in my storytelling: covering severe weather, chasing criminal suspects, to covering riots and social unrest. Transitioning from a high-intensity career to ceramics was a huge risk I took, both professionally and personally. Working with clay is unpredictable at times, especially since it’s a process that tests your patience! I’d like to think learning a new craft as a new career was a big leap of faith: my ceramic journey has been steeped in learning, creating, and reaching goals! Immersing myself in a new craft has allowed me to explore my creative potential: in addition to handmade ceramics, I have been working on a patent-pending line of dinnerware for nearly a year now that challenges the way we use and stack our dishes. I hope to share it with you, soon!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
About a year into my ceramic career, I started to forage my own materials for glaze recipes. Living in San Diego and near so many beaches, it’s almost second nature to adopt an attitude of conservation and respect for nature. I started learning about responsible foraging, and how to incorporate more sustainable practices within my art. Ceramics is one of the most natural materials you can use in your home, since it is directly derived from the Earth. But there is still room to be greener in ceramic arts. Simple steps like reclaiming, reusing, and recycling materials in my work is a must for my studio. My kiln is solar powered, and I’ve also started working with a local company that takes in my glaze and clay waste to reuse as aggregate in building materials for roads and highways.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
A corner of inspiration for Chapter Ceramics is often found in nature, and one of these places is the Black Mountain Open Space Park. I often walk here to find ideas for product designs, and source pigment materials from minerals and rocks in the dirt. It’s not a typical tour of San Diego County, but when I take visitors here, it’s like visiting a sacred place for me. It holds so much meaning to my craft and why Chapter was born.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The ceramic community has been extremely friendly and welcoming. When I started to entertain the idea of working with clay, I reached out to local potters and ceramicists over social media to meet up to help me understand just what it took to do it full-time. They were all so lovely and generous with their advice and stories. I decided to enroll in a community studio program to learn the basics, and took a glaze making workshop when I started to forage my own Earth materials. Everyone along my ceramic journey has turned out to be great mentors and friends.