In celebration of her latest collection being live at The Post Supply, we sat down with Dominque Ostuni, ceramicist of dreams, for a peak inside her studio and her beautiful poetic mind. We are enamored by all things Dominque and we know you will be too, if you aren't already!
TPS: We are both avid supporters of your work and use your ceramics in our homes! We have the mug that says "I love the post office" that really speaks to our hearts. The post office was actually one of the early inspirations for The Post Supply (hence the name) and staying connected with friends and family across distances by sharing gifts and home utility with one another. Where do you draw from for your plethora of motifs and inspiration? What is currently exciting you?
DO: First and foremost, where would we be without our post-people? The post office is something like a second home to me these days. That might be a stretch. But I do find myself there nearly every afternoon, dropping off my pots in a linen bin, wishing them farewell on their next adventure on the postal highway. I say my hellos to the post people, and my goodbyes to the pots. I think of how the pots moves through this highway of cardboard and paper, I think of the life of packages after they get dropped off. The liminal space between myself and a customer. The in-between. I think about it all of the time. Hence, “I love The Post Office” mug came to be! This is just a small example of how the wares I make come to fruiton. My writings, musings, ramblings are all an extension of what I key as my in-house language. My secrets, interests, loves, passions. They live forever on my pots, for you to interpret as your own.
TPS: Can you talk to us about your process? What's your creative flow like when creating and HOW do you get that magical gold?
DO: My process is not practical, but it is mine. When I am beginning my next batch of work, I take all of my sketchbooks, journals, musings on paper and lay them out in front of me at the studio. Then, I get to work. I am very frugal when it comes to tools I use at the studio, and I can get by with just a tomato can, a rolling pin, and a knife. For example, all of the bottoms of my mugs are cut out using a Pastene tomato can I made sauce with in college. The drawings and words come to me as I begin surfacing and it can get chaotic. Thirteen hour studio days ensue where I feel sometimes that I am simply having a conversation with myself through my pottery. It is a very vulnerable feeling. It is also very beautiful. It is how I get to know myself the very best. The gold luster is 22K premium gold suspended in paint thinner, it is applied to the pieces last in an entirely separate firing which, to me, is the grand finale of the piece. It adds a sense of depth and celebration and gives such life to the porcelain.
TPS: You are an artist in every sense of the word from what you create to how you live life. Can you tell us a little about your life, how you came to be the illustrious-you, and what being an artist means to you?
DO: There has always been something maddening in me that knew I was meant to make things with my hands. It took me six years to make a pot that I loved, and two years thereafter for me to finally show the world my pottery. I don’t know how to communicate aloud very well, honestly. There is no sponge between my brain and my mouth, and everything comes out sounding like a nonsensical grocery list or a piece of prose found on the back of an old Valentine. It is easier for me to communicate through my craft. I wake up in the early hours of the morning before the sun is up and I draw and write for one hour, I read for another, and then the rest of my day is spent tending to the pottery studio. Pottery is reflective, a true testament to an artist in their environment. I moved to the middle of the Maine woods three years ago so that I could really delve unabashedly into quietude – I felt as though I needed solitude to create work that felt honest and liberating. I make work for hands, cabinets, galleries. But being an artist, and making this work, is really my own personal way of holding hands and having a conversation with you.
*Photography by Hannah Hoggatt