Introducing Freda the maker behind "The Bad Potter", perfectly Imperfect Handmade Ware, a small-batch, handmade, ceramics business based out of Vancouver, BC.
Read out more about Freda and the inspiration behind her work.
When and how did you come up with the idea of The Bad Potter?
The Bad Potter started back in 2018 as a way to share my wonky pottery journey on Instagram. At the time I was at a full time 9 to 5 that required long dedicated days on screens. I used to walk by a seaside studio on my lunch break and I’d press my face against the window, fantasizing about creating on the wheel with my hands. I was initially drawn to the physical involvement of ceramics, each step demands your complete attention and presence. I felt like it was something I could enjoy, express creativity and allow spontaneity all at the same time. So I took a beginners class at the seaside studio, Claytek in Vancouver, subsequently a couple of other workshops. I begin to make a lot of everyday functional tableware, lots of bowls and plates. Though I thought my work was terrible at the time, the idea of my work being enjoyed by others meant (and still does now) so much to me, I eventually started to put my work out there for sale on Etsy and at local markets. That opened up a whole other side of this craft, the business side, which also brings me a lot of joy. Really, it all started with the goal of having fun, which is still the focus today.
Where does your inspiration come from?
With a blended background of design and marketing, the ability to bringing ideas and physical prototypes to life (almost) instantly is appealing. I love that you can be inspired or have an idea, chances are, you can create it with clay. Many inspirations in my work, the biggest has to be everyday functionalities.
Do you remember the first piece you ever made?A blue, green, black cup that looked like a tornado blew through and it got stuck. The end result was not how I expected at all! I remember wanting to get back to the drawing board right away and make it again.
What advice would you give a beginner?
You can’t force creativity, it flows. And being mindful of my bandwidth has saved me from many many burnouts.
Do you feel between your marketing business and pottery business you have created a harmonious balance?
I love that pottery is super demanding. You have to make the pieces, glaze them fire them and then after all the trial and error you have to sell them. You do it all! Right now, I definitely prioritize making, and marketing is secondary. I try to fit it all in. And I have become better at balancing. I find lots of fun, unique ideas of how to market a piece during the making process. I love sharing a bit about the process as I go, and people seem to enjoy that.
Who is one of your female role models and why?
My grandma. She ran the home I grew up in China, raised a flock of grandkids, and still had time to practice self-care and her artistry. She’s done it with so much grace and intention day in and day out. She’s taught me at an early age the strength and power of a woman.
What does Girl Gang mean to you?
Girl Gang has been a huge source of support, inspiration, and female empowerment the past year! It’s so amazing to be a part of a women-run business collective, we truly learn so much from each other, support each other, making our goals and dreams that much closer. No doubt having your own business has its challenges, Girl Gang connects us and makes it fun to share our journeys.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Enjoying a well-oiled studio space, operating my kiln and blending glaze recipes. And sharing the craft!
Are you working on any new projects/or have a dream project?
Aside from setting up my own studio right now, I am working on large vases and carved vessels for my first soda firing in March.
Digging up local clay and pit firing has always fascinated me, that’s up there on the list to try!
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
That I actually love cats (also). I’m a huge animal lover. Not just canines :) I’ve been a proud owner of chickens, ducks, a snake, a turtle, cats growing up.
Thank You Freda!