The Queue: Tina Fossella
The Queue: Tina Fossella
Get to know the people featured in the pages of our magazine as they share what's inspiring them right now.
We're thrilled to provide an glimpse into the upcoming issue of American Craft in this week's Queue post by introducing you to an artist included in its pages. The Queue is a biweekly interview series where we invite the artists, curators, organizers, and others featured in our magazine to share personally about their lives and work as well as what's inspiring them right now. Our upcoming series will follow the Summer issue of American Craft, centered on the theme of "Forge."
Tina Fossella is a potter based in Mill Valley, California, whose practice focuses on practical everyday objects for the home. She has been a student of Buddhism for 20 years and describes sitting at the potter’s wheel as “meditation in action.” Her work is featured in the Market section of our Summer 2022 issue, and she will be an exhibitor in our American Craft Made / Baltimore online marketplace happening May 16–29, 2022.
How do you describe your work or practice?
I throw and hand carve ceramics intended for everyday use in rituals of drinking and eating. I love the contrast of colorful glazes against earthy clay bodies. Everything should look beautiful and feel good. I know I have succeeded when I hear “I use this cup every single day!”
The past couple of years have presented many challenges, from a global pandemic to renewed urgency around issues of racial equity and police brutality. As we slowly move into a post-pandemic world, how are you finding beauty and staying grounded?
My spiritual home is with the Goddess. I believe there was a time when we knew how to live sustainably on the earth and in harmony with all beings. When I pray and ask how I can be most helpful now, I hear the Goddess say, “Create beauty. Share love.”
The theme of the current issue of American Craft is “Forge.” Can you reflect on that theme as it relates to your work and practice?
Firing the kiln is a sacred, alchemical ritual. Here is where the magic happens! I imagine that the love and joy that I experience while making the pots goes into the clay so that the people who receive them will feel that too. They are vessels through which to connect.
What has been the biggest barrier you have had to break through to get to the place you’re at with your career?
It’s a challenge to promote myself, because my focus is really on the work, the offering, and the intention behind it. Fortunately, my work seems to call people to it, and I have been blessed with multiple opportunities to engage with customers at shows and stores in California and New York.
What’s one of your favorite tools in your toolkit that the world should know about?
Practicing and studying Buddhist meditation is the best thing I’ve ever done in my whole life. The teachings are full of wisdom and helpful tips on how to work with your mind and emotions. Having a regular meditation practice helped me develop inner qualities of concentration, compassion, relaxation, and joy.
What book should we be reading or paying attention to right now, and why?
I am enjoying Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy, which follows five interrelated families throughout the course of the 20th century. You go through World War I, World War II, the rise of fascism, and the Cold War with these characters and their descendants, and start to wonder if we have learned anything from history.
Inspired by the people featured in The Queue?
Dive deeper into their work in the pages of American Craft magazine. Become a member of the American Craft Council to get a subscription and help fund a range of nonprofit programs that elevate the craft community.