Friday interview: Maboue - Wearable Porcelain April 06, 2012 06:47

Happy Friday, everyone! This week, I'm happy to introduce you to Soleil Fleming. At Craftland, we carry a beautiful collection of Soleil's jewelry, and were excited to have the chance to get to learn more about her. Read on for some great advice on balancing life as an artist and mom and what the handmade scene is like in her corner of Canada.

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your handmade business.
My name is Soleil Fleming, I live just north of Montreal, in Québec, among many many trees. Yes, Soleil means Sun in french, and yes, my parents were hippies, all the way. A couple of years ago, having completed a Studio Arts degree from Concordia University in Montreal, I thought I’d get myself pregnant and run off to the mountains (or something along those lines).
Maboue - Wearable Porcelain was born quite organically, just a few months after my now 2 year old daughter was born... I couldn’t seem to pull off throwing pottery on the wheel while carrying a baby (!) but desperately needed to get my hands back into clay, so I started making small porcelain objects at my kitchen table, opened my Etsy Shop... And it’s been blossoming nicely since... I feel very grateful. 


Describe your studio for us.
My “official” studio is the top floor of our house, a steep-walled mezzanine... I can also be found on my living room couch or at my kitchen table, assembling necklaces or softening the edges of piles of pieces of unfired clay. And then there is the studio I dream of with a deep deep sink, a slab roller, so much natural light I need blinds and sunglasses and a patio connecting it to my house... sigh!


What are the tools of your trade?
First and foremost, definitely my Kiln, a perfectly perfect old Paragon found on Craigslist when we first moved out of Montreal a couple of years ago
. Exactly 5 minutes from our new home, we were meant to be! I have to say the second most important tool of MY trade is my boyfriend, who built me a kiln room from scratch, with the best homemade ventilation and cooling system ever, a light-box for taking pictures of my work, a website... I am definitely one of those “clever girls behind whom there is a guy with a beard and glasses” , thanks for putting that out there Sarah! There are a couple of things I couldn’t live without - that one pin needle tool that has just the right dulness and that one Doily that makes the nicest necklace imprint of all...  But ultimately, as long as the clay is there to wedge and the glazes to glaze... I’m good to go. 


What is the handmade scene like in your part of Quebec?
This is my third attempt at an answer to this simple question and I still can’t seem to find the right words... I will simply say this - there is a crazy amount of truly creative and innovative makers in Québec, and it is getting easier every day to shop for beautiful, contemporary handmade stuff, all over the province.

Any advice on balancing a small business with the demands of being a mom?
Ô my... Forgive yourself in advance for not being perfect, you won’t be... Don't do guilt. I guess that's just plain advice on being a parent! Push any deadline that seems realistic to you by a few weeks, you will be a much more patient and present parent, and a much more reliable artist! I’m not of those who believe the only way to run a business is to not count the hours and work every night and week-end. I say choose your business hours and stick to them as much as possible (hard, I know). Remember what’s really important. Remind yourself of how you want your children to perceive work
. Try to get your kids involved on some level or another with what you do. And then forgive yourself again for not doing all of the above! 


What does handmade mean to you?
Time. Humility. Beauty.
Making the world a prettier place, one object at a time... A happier place, one object at a time.  

How did you first become involved with Craftland?
Devienna contacted me with the sweetest words after seeing my work on Etsy, THANK YOU Devienna! It’s been a wonderful partnership!

Little known fun fact about you?
I find great satisfaction in pulling out large amounts of hair from the bathtub drain, I know, gross. Oh, Is that not a fun fact? Sorry. Here is a less disturbing one
: I could eat breakfast for every meal, every day.