Chelcie Trepp

Chelcie believes that her interest in ceramics stems from playing in the mud when she was younger. But she really fell in love with the art of ceramics when she realized she could combine her love of drawing and painting sculpture to create endless possibilities with clay. Chelcie draws inspiration from nature to experiment with surface textures and finishes (tree bark, winding ivy, stitches, and spiderwebs) to create functional pieces that will become a staple in someone’s life.

Interview with Chelcie Trepp

Mayco: Please tell us about yourself–what’s your background and how have you ended up where you are today?

Chelcie: I was born and raised in Dublin, OH, which is just a hop and a skip away from downtown Columbus. I spent a lot of my childhood outdoors in the woods, climbing trees, riding my bike, hiking, and playing in the mud. I also spent a lot of my time reading, drawing, and utilizing whatever else I could get my hands on to create. My mother and I went to a lot of art festivals, and she was very supportive of me trying new things. 
 I never really had one art medium I preferred over another, and continued to explore throughout high school and in college. When I was in high school, I spent most of my time with drawing, painting, theatre tech, and photography. Once I got to college, I had access to even more mediums and fantastic professors who were happy to share their knowledge. At the University of Akron, I tried almost every medium that was offered. I didn’t take my first ceramics course until my 3rd year at UA and when I tried throwing, I struggled, but I also really liked it. I continued to take throwing for both semesters before I graduated and I had the opportunity to sell my work at The Ohio Renaissance Festival. I pushed myself to keep practicing and I spent hours in the studio throwing the same form as well as experimenting with other forms and surface textures and finishes.
 Today, I have my own wheel and I continue to create my work as well as selling my work at festivals around Ohio. I am always trying to learn new things to better myself as a ceramicist and as an artist.

Where did your interest in ceramics come from?

I like to joke that I started playing in the mud when I was younger, and as an adult, I’m still playing in the mud. I would say that part of my interest stems from this and the other part stems from the exploration and experimentation I did while in college. I had the opportunity to collaborate with my peers and professors as well as make mistakes and figure out who I wanted to be as a ceramic artist. I’m still trying to figure that part out.

How would you describe your style of work, the materials you use and how you’re inspired?

I’m still in the process of finding what my particular “style” of work is, but my main goal is for every piece I create to be functional.
 Although I have played around with different types of clay, I found the Laguna B-mix to be my favourite to work with because of its buttery texture and how well it works when thrown or used to sculpt.
 Much of my inspiration comes from nature as well as my personal interests. I carve tree bark textures, winding ivy, stitches, and spiderwebs to finish the surfaces of the pieces I throw. I also draw inspiration from other artists and try to take that inspiration and make it my own.

What are you favorite Mayco products to use? How do these products show off your work??

My favorite Mayco products include the Mayco Fundamentals Underglaze in Jet Black, the white Designer Liner, and different combinations of Mayco stoneware glazes (Moonscape, SW-147, is my favorite!).
 I specifically use the Fundamentals Underglaze and Designer Liner for the pieces I leave in stitches. The Jet Black turns into a nice satin finish when fired at cone 5 and the Designer Liner is great for the small detail work with the stitches. I usually don’t add a clear glaze over the stitch pieces because the satin finish is a nice compliment to the glossiness of the glaze I use as a liner.
 The Mayco stoneware glazes are really great for the work I make because of its versatility. I prefer to brush some glazes and dip others. These glazes compliment my forms well.

What effect do you want your work to have on people??

I want people to enjoy my creations as much as I enjoy them and find ways to incorporate them in their daily lives. One of my favourite things is to get a picture of a bowl in use or to hear how a mug I made has become a staple in someone’s life for drinking tea or coffee. I put a lot of work into every piece I throw and creating art makes me happy. I just hope that using a piece of art everyday or every so often makes others happy.

Who is your ceramics “hero”, or an artist that you really look up to?

Two ceramic artists I look up to are Melissa Michel (@scumugs on Instagram) and Katie Marks (@anotherseattleartist on Instagram). Both Michel and Marks make functional ceramic pieces that are both unique in their own ways. My favorite pieces from Michel are her banner mugs that have snarky/funny messages. Marks is a self-taught ceramicist who takes inspiration from crystals/geodes, galaxies, and fantasy. I look up to both of these artists because of their style of work, their attention to detail, and seeing how much they’ve grown over the years inspires me to push myself to create and experiment more to develop my own style.

What was the first piece of pottery you made (that you remember), and why did you fall in love with the art form?

The first piece of pottery I remember making when I was younger was either a coil pot painted with different symbols or a small sculpture of a bird standing next to a flower (my mother still has both of these on the mantle). 

 I didn’t fall in love with ceramics right away. I took Saturday morning art classes at CCAD, which introduced me to many different art forms including ceramics. I enjoyed trying all of them, and I continued to create and experiment in lots of different mediums all the way through college. I rekindled my interest in ceramics in college and found that I was able to combine my love of drawing and painting with sculpture. I enjoyed the challenge that throwing presented and I fell in love with the seemingly endless possibilities for creation.

In addition to creating your own ceramic art, what are your hobbies?

My hobbies include drawing, painting, hiking, traveling to new places, swimming, going to Renaissance festivals and dressing up, reading, and spending time with those I care about.

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

I would love to tour all over Europe. It would be interesting to experience the culture in each country, hike the differing landscapes, and visit the art museums.

What is on your fall bucket list?

Not so much a fall bucket list item, but I would love to visit Renaissance Festivals in each state. Many of them occur in the fall around the same time, so I would really like to visit a couple each year.