I met ceramicist, Erin Hupp through our mutual friend, and she invited me over to her Oakland studio, where Erin creates her beautiful creations that elevate many restaurant plates in the Bay Area and beyond.
Erin and I immediately bonded about making with our hands, being small business owners, and how much we both love the new all-black chonk because it brings us both back to our style roots- but in an elevated way.
Your name: Erin Burg Hupp
Your pronouns: She/her
What you do: Ceramicist
Where you live: Oakland, CA
Can you tell us a little about your journey becoming an artist/craftsperson?
It was love at first sight when I took my first ceramics class at age 17 and I’ve been creating with clay ever since. In my early twenties I worked at a pottery production studio, which helped me master my craft. During my legal career (first in land use law and then in child welfare law) clay became an important hobby and my potter’s wheel provided solace and meditation. Five years ago I took stock of my life and decided to leap to a full-time art career focused on art-forward tableware for fine dining restaurants. Returning to my art practice full time in a more meaningful way was like coming back to my true self. I feel whole again.
What's your perfect day look like?
Waking up early, lifting weights (I really enjoy strength training!), spending the day creating in my studio and then finishing the day off at one of my favorite local restaurants. Sometimes I’ll fit in a walk near the ocean for a recharge at lunch. When I first started my full-time art career, I pictured spending every day leisurely exploring new ideas in my studio – but as a solo business owner and artist, I find that I have to deliberately block my calendar to ensure I have those creative design days.
How would you describe your personal style?
That is a difficult question for me! During the day in the studio, it’s “colorblock utilitarian”, and at night it’s more feminine (usually with Doc Martens). I feel like I have several styles depending on the activity.
How is the way you dress in studio when working different from when you're going out to a gallery opening or dinner with friends? Is it the same? Different? Describe an normal outfit (we'll add the images we take here)
My art is inherently messy, one of the reasons I love working with clay, so in the studio I wear almost exclusively colorful cotton worksuits. My favorite are the Rue Stiic jumpsuits because they are loose enough for easy movement but tailored. When I’m out with friends at a restaurant I like to dress up because I’ve been messy and dirty in my studio all day. I usually pick a colorful dress or skirt, paired with black. It feels like an easy transition but refreshing after being elbow deep in clay all day. And when at home with my children I choose my most comfortable and neutral clothes.
What are your favorite Bryr clogs and why?
My new favorites are the newly-released monochrome black chonks. Since I work with so many (delicious) restaurants, dining at them has become a lovely part of my business. As a maker, I’m excited to find a pair of all-black comfortable and fun shoes that not only reflect me as a maker but support another local women-owned handmade business.
The monochrome black chonks are a funky, refreshing version of the 90’s all-foam platform sandals I wore as a teen! I usually wear black Doc Martens with dresses so the all-black chonk is a fun update to that look.
Do you have any exciting things coming up in 2023?
Yes!! This is a big year for Erin Hupp Ceramics. In the Fall I am launching new products for Interiors, including a table lamp collection for the home. Most of my art is made for public spaces – to enhance an experience and draw you closer to the slow moments of connection to your surroundings, your home, the restaurant you dine in and the food you eat. Lighting is also something we experience.. When designing my lamps I modified my bracelet pedestal vase to accommodate an oversized porcelain bulb from the UK. These lamps have no shades, allowing the soft glow of the porcelain bulb to light the environment. They also have customizable features; clay body, size and - a customizable chord and switch – 12 colors and designs to choose from. I look forward to the creative combinations people order! I’m also planning my annual Gallery Pop-Up with abstract painter Jaime Lovejoy in San Francisco this November. This will be our third year converting an empty retail space into a month-long art gallery open to the public. This year we will be on Union Street. More details will be on my website and Instagram (@erinhuppceramics)very soon.
Shop Erin's Clog Closet: