1) Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I create one-of-a-kind functional ceramic art, such as: bowls, vases, trays, plates, cups, teapots, and gratitude boxes. I am a hand builder, which means I do not throw on the wheel. Instead, all my pieces start out as a flat, rolled out piece of clay which I then form into the functional shapes. Sometimes I use molds to help shape a piece as in a bowl. Other times there is no mold and I create forms freehand.
I find the glazing process to be extremely challenging and also fun. Ceramic glaze colors do not mix like paints do. If you mix red and blue with paints, you get purple. Not so with ceramics! You may mix a red glaze with a blue glaze and get green, or brown, etc. How the glazes react chemically with each other within the firing phase determines the final color. Sometimes it is a total surprise! So I keep detailed notes of what glazes I use on each piece so I’m able to recreate a certain color or effect. Although I’ve found that being a ceramic artist, I have to often let go of expectations on how a glaze will come out. So many factors can effect the final product: length of firing, heat of firing, if oxygen is let into the kiln while firing. And oftentimes, I will not get what I expected, but something even lovelier!
2) How did you first become interested in art?
I have been interested in the arts my entire life. Long ago, during my school days, my focus was music, singing and acting in particular. But it wasn’t until much later, when I had children, that I got interested in ceramics. I enrolled my young son in a kid’s ceramic class and he had a lot of fun in it. So I decided to take an adult class… and I was hooked! I was very surprised to find I could create something tangible out of mud, because that is essentially what clay is. It is immensely satisfying to take a static clump of clay and form it into a piece that people can use. And I’m honored that a piece of my work can bring a smile to someone’s face as they use it in their everyday life.
3) How does art enrich a community, and what are some ways people can engage with art in Burbank?
There are so many ways that art enriches a community! Art, of all media, gives viewers the opportunity to look at something in a way they may have never thought of before. Art employs many of our five senses to give us a more encompassing feel for our world. Whether it’s seen at a large outdoor mural, in a small intimate gallery, or at a concert hall, Art feeds our soul. I would encourage everyone to try their hand at playing with various forms of art. You may just stumble upon your next life long passion!
4) If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
Art is as necessary to our mental well being as is air, food, water and shelter. Go out and explore!
To learn more about Mims’ work, visit her website www.mimsellisceramics.com, follow her on Instagram at
Https://www.instagram.com/mimsellisceramics.com/, or find her on Facebook at Mims Ellis Ceramics.