Chili Bowl Intern Profile: Laura Casas

February 14, 2019 by

Our annual Chili Bowl fundraiser is right around the corner and we’re getting pretty excited! As always, the Chili Bowl Intern has played a big part in getting ready for this event. Laura Casas came to WSW after graduating with her BFA in December, and got straight to work in our ceramics studio. Her work is fun and playful, and at the same time personal and comforting. Laura sat down with me while glazing bowls to discuss her work and her WSW experience.

Where are you from?

“I’m from a small town on the coast of North Carolina. I’ve never really left North Carolina so coming up this far north is definitely an experience. I’m forcing myself out of my comfort zone.”

How did you find ceramics?

“I found ceramics in college. I was taking printmaking and ceramics at the same time. The first ceramics class I took went terribly but the second class I took was hand building and I found joy in it.”

Your work is so unique, where do you draw inspiration from?

“I was born in Mexico and raised in America. I didn’t feel connected to my heritage until college, it was something I needed. I was specifically drawn to terra-cotta and red clay, bright colors and pinching. In the beginning I found inspiration from traditional Mexican pottery and the Puebla floral patterns. More recently I have used my own interest in comics and illustration to grow my imagery.”

How has your Chili Bowl Intern experience been?

“Production work is a whole new experience for me. I was interested in this internship because of production aspects, I wanted to challenge myself. My work has always been in very small batches. I feel successful coming out of it and like I’ve learned a lot from Ruth and Cheyenne.”

What have you learned from working in WSW’s ceramic studio?

“It’s interesting learning how a community studio works and managing it. I’ve learned a lot and what I should be looking for in the future when I establish my own studio. I have really learned how to plan and schedule and stick to it.”

How has your work changed since coming to WSW?

“Before I struggled with finding a balance between affordable and time-consuming work. I have had to reteach myself how to decorate in my own aesthetic while producing work in a timely manner. Being surrounded by printmakers and textile artists has been good for me. Ruth has taught me how to utilize screen print and do wet transfers. I have a small background in printmaking and I would like to incorporate that more.”

Are you excited for Chili Bowl?

“I have done an Empty Bowls event before but it was one day and it was pretty small. I think it will be fun to see what 1000 bowls look like and pretty cool to see that many makers represented in one place.”

Do you have any advice for the next chili bow intern?

“Stick to Ruth’s plan, she knows what she’s doing. And keep a personal calendar.”

What are you plans for after your internship?

“I am going back home and will probably work at Pocosin Arts for the summer. After that I plan to move to Raleigh NC and find a job.”