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Practicing her craft out of a quiet, modest Strathcona studio in Vancouver, you’ll find internationally acclaimed artist, Nathalee Paolinelli.

Favouring neither the formal nor the functional, she embraces an amateur approach to the medium of clay – a consciously naïve logic that makes each object she creates so unique. Finding the parallels between her works and the natural beauty of our plants at Pure Sunfarms, Nathalee is the maker of the hand-built porcelain tray in the Pure Sunfarms Marketplace collection. 

We sat down with Nathalee in her studio to learn more about her craft, how she got started, and the precarious and poetic tensions in each one of her creations.

Tell us what led you to ceramics.

I started working with clay around 2011 because I felt like I had come to the end of the road with my painting practice. If you knew me 15-20 years ago when I graduated from art school, I had a thing for painting. But clay was something I hadn’t tried before and it felt great.

Tell us about what a day in your studio looks like.

*She laughs* Soooo so many things – every day is different and the same. Today for instance, I got to the studio, released the pins from the kiln so the work inside cools down. Cleaned the tools. Cleaned the tables. Organized my forms for the day. Rolled a few slabs out and started making. If there is a day where making feels wrong or I break three things in a row, I’ll switch over to something else.  

We know what it’s like working with plants. What’s it like working with ceramics? What are the challenges?

The challenges are like, if you have an order, you have to make three times what you think you’ll need so quality control is high. There are so many variables. 

If you knew me 15-20 years ago when I graduated from art school, I had a thing for painting. But clay was something I hadn’t tried before and it felt great.

What inspired your collaboration with Pure Sunfarms?

Let’s talk about the logo. When I first saw your company logo and I flipped over the ashtray I made for you I saw that the ceramic looked like a sun. Sometimes those things just happen. It’s kismet. I started researching ash trays and saw these wavy glass trays and thought, this is so similar to the feel I’m working towards. Making the shape, realizing the logo of Pure Sunfarms was a sun, and then looking at the archive of the vintage ashtrays. It all just fit.

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