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Maker Moment: An interview with potter Nicole Aquillano

Posted by Melissa Massello  April 11, 2013 02:00 PM

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maker-monent-nicole-aquillano-pottery1.jpg Raised in Pittsburgh, educated at RISD, and now residing in Fort Point, potter Nicole Aquillano is our first in a series of Maker Moments with artists and craftspeople exhibiting at this month's CraftBoston Spring show. A former civil engineer, she turns architectural sketches into ethereal imagery on her ceramic and porcelain mugs and vases. Find out what this (soon-to-be) six-time marathon runner has to say in response to our ten questions:

What's the first project you remember making/crafting?
My mom always had us making things. The first thing I remember making were potholders on those little plastic looms. I would make tons during the summer and save them for Christmas presents. I never understood why the adults in my life liked handmade gifts so much. But now, with a three year old niece, I totally get it.

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Most successful project? Biggest fail?
Most successful project to date is definitely my own career change. Two years ago I was a full-time engineer. Now I'm a studio potter. Biggest fail? Being a business woman! But I'm working on it!

What do you DIY the most?
I make tons of functional ceramics - mugs are a big seller.

Favorite tools/materials?
Favorite material is definitely porcelain, although it can be quite a challenge when you fire it to 2350 degrees F.

Has a project outcome ever surprised you?
My thesis show for RISD was based on my childhood home. I never thought I'd still be making work based on my home after graduate school, but people have responded really well to it. It seems my memories elicit memories of their own, which is rewarding in itself! I get to make what I love again and again.

What's the best advice you've ever received?
One of my college mentors told me that if you work hard enough at something, it's bound to happen. I think my career change is living proof of that!

What's your top tip for first-timers?
Don't ever give up!

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Anything you DIY now that you never thought you would?
I mix my own clay and glazes. It's time consuming, but reassuring to know that I've mixed everything to my own specifications.

When do you call in the experts?
I seek expert advice when I have kiln issues!

"When I'm not making stuff, I'm..."
Running. I've run 5 marathons to date, after Marathon Monday, it will be 6!

Thanks, Nicole!

Visit Nicole at the CraftBoston Spring show, Friday, April 19 through Sunday, April 21 at the Seaport World Trade Center, 200 Seaport Blvd, Boston.

~Tara

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About the Authors

Melissa Massello is a newspaper journalist turned startup junkie and lifelong Bostonian who prides herself on her do-it-yourself attitude. From making her prom dress out More »
Tara Bellucci is a Boston-based writer that lives for fonts, food, and flea market finds. Whether decorating jars of her homemade jam for The Boston More »

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