In art class, I made some mugs, and I made some pinch pots. I brought them home to my parents and added to their collection of pencil cups. I made one lumpy mug in a shade of blue and convinced my mother to put it up with her collection of blue and white platters and pitchers from European travels. My career as an artist sort of stalled after that. Let me introduce you to a true artist: Angelique Tassistro. Angelique came to Asheville from Baton Rouge, and has been receiving accolades year after year. WNC Top 10 Emerging artist (2010). Ceramics Monthly Top 15 National Emerging Clay Artists (2011). And, Angelique’s work is shown in the permanent collection at New Orleans Museum of Modern Art in New Orleans. Next time you are in Asheville, check her out her studio, Fly Coop Studios. It is located in the River Arts District at Curve Studio and Garden. If you can’t wait until then to purchase a piece to put next to your kid’s pinch pot, check out her Etsy store. You will be glad you did. Angelique was gracious enough to answer a few questions of mine, her answers and examples of her work are below.
What is the first piece you recommend for someone to start their pottery collection?
I love to throw dinner parties; many of my pieces are created with this in mind. Serving bowls are my specialty. I would recommend choosing your most delicious recipe, then picking a serving bowl or platter that fits the needs of that particular dish.
What is more important in a piece? Form or function?
That could be one of the biggest debate questions in the art world. In my opinion, they go hand in hand; one is equally as important than the other. I strive to have beautiful forms that function perfectly.
What is your favorite collection of pottery you have created? (casserole dishes, cake plates, wine cups)
I recently started making a series of serving pieces that are in the form of ships. I call them the “Sail Collection”; it is my favorite as of now. The challenge of the large pieces keeps it fun.
What’s the first step for creating a piece that you haven’t attempted before?
My process is always the same. I sometimes don’t realize I’m creating a new form until it’s half way done. It happens very organically.
I pull inspiration from many places. My “On Point” collection was inspired by my passion for yoga that lead me to a slight obsession with Indian Architecture. I would love to suggest that I became interested in Indian Architecture from going to the library and checking out books but the truth is that I was looking at a clothing catalog….Anthropology. I had seen Indian decor and architecture before, but for some reason the window treatments stood out in a way they had not before. One thing led to the next and I had new forms popping up every other day. “On Point” is still in process. The possibilities are endless.
How did growing up in the south impact you creatively?
I grew up in Baton Rouge Louisiana. My extended family is from Natchez. I would spend summers and holidays there, visiting my grandmother and many cousins. One thing that stands out the most is that we were encouraged to play. We had tea parties with real china at the age of five. Granny would just open the China cabinet and let us go at it. I’m sure it’s because the 13 kids at her house where driving her crazy, but we had no idea. I can only imagine that those “lessons” helped craft the type of work I make. In a way, I am making pieces to be used at grown up tea parties. My hope is that they are used daily… making every day special.