Artist Interview: Early Bird Designs

EBD in the studio

Craftland is excited to introduce you to designer and maker Jill Burns of Early Bird Designs in Worcester, Massachusetts. We proudly carry Jill’s porcelain plates. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

What is your background and how did you get into creating what you make now?

I studied painting in college and began a career in the museum field. Once I tried ceramics I was hooked on the material and the design possibilities in presented. After many years of honing the craft, I completed an artist residency and was awarded a Worcester Arts Council Fellowship.

animal plates

Tell us about your design and making process?

Each piece is made entirely by hand, from forming the clay and drawing the original images, to glaze formulation and firing. Pieces begin as porcelain slabs that are draped and coaxed over plaster forms. The handmade quality is important—leaving traces of the maker’s hands in the soft clay with a small dent or o -round shape. Free-hand drawings are carved and inlaid with a dark liquid clay (slip) that contrast nicely with the alabaster color of the porcelain. Finally, touches of color are added and kiln-fired twice to a durable glossy finish.

test tiles

What is the source of your inspiration?

Vintage engravings and the backyard garden inspire images many of the images.The style is whimsical and rustic with an easy-going charm.

What is your preferred medium, and why?

Porcelain! Porcelain is a beautiful material and robust as well. Lovely when displayed, but equally at home when put to daily use. All pieces are safe for the microwave and dishwasher, or wash them by hand—they were made that way!

Insect plates 2

What do you find to be the most challenging and rewarding part of owning your own business/creative career?

When you own your own creative business you need to wear many hats. I requires you to learn lots of new things which is rewarding, but it can stretch you thin at times and take you out of the studio for too long.

veggie plates