As usual, we were mindlessly scrolling around on instagram on the MRT to work when we saw Rossella's planters and fell in love immediately. We just knew we had to share Rossella’s work with our fellow Singaporeans so we started emailing her and... let’s say, the rest is history. Rossella recently got back to us with the interview after a short hiatus (hint: baby boy)!
the Tableware curators: Hi Rossella, do introduce yourself to our readers.
Rossella: Hi everyone, my name is Rossella Manzini, aka Ross, and I am the one with the muddy hands behind RossLab. I make colorful and playful ceramic ware inspired by mid-century Scandinavian and Italian pottery. I was born and raised in Italy but I now live in San Jose, California, where RossLab is based, with my husband, son, and cat.
TC: Where are you based in and how big is the pottery scene in your state/country?
R: The pottery scene in California and all the United States is very lively and interesting: there are as many different styles as ceramicists.
TC: We are curious. Being a ceramicist isn’t like any other jobs, so how did you get started in ceramics and are you doing this full-time?
R: I have loved art and handmade things all my life, but I discovered my love for clay only few years ago. When I moved to the United States in 2011, I finally had the chance to take ceramic classes, something I always wanted to do but never had the time to explore back home. I fell in love right away, but, at first, I wasn’t planning to start a full-time business. I opened my online store with a limited number of creations, but the positive feedback convinced me to take the leap. I left my career in finance to be a potter and never looked back. Since then my shop has grown bigger and my pieces have evolved with it.
TC: What do you love so much about making ceramics and the handmade movement?
R: What I like the most about making ceramics is to know they will share and brighten someone else’s home and life. There is something special about handmade objects, because every time you use them you can’t help thinking about the hands that made them and the joy involved in the process. It makes you feel special, and that is why I make all my ceramics by hand and with love, from start to finish. I believe in making special things for special people to enjoy everyday, beautiful to look at, yet functional and made to be lived with.
TC: We love your textured ceramics especially your planters and vases. How do you come about with the form or idea for the ceramics? What’s your creative process like?
R: My creative process changes from piece to piece. Sometimes I sketch forms and textures on paper first, but some other times it all begins at the potter's wheel. It depends on the idea and the visual image in my mind. If it is something I have been thinking about for long or a project I am really confident about, then I just sit at the wheel and follow my instinct.
TC: We just have to ask, where do you draw your inspiration from?What/who inspires you for your work?
R: I try to surround myself with visual inspirations from art galleries, old films, flea markets, books, and nature. I constantly work on my designs and the decorating process, because I believe colors and patterns are as important as shape and functionality. I also love and admire the work of old school, mid-century potters from Italy and Europe: they were after quality and originality in their work and that is also what I inspire to achieve with my pieces.
TC: Thank you so much for your time in answering our questions. To end it off, do you any encouraging words for aspiring ceramicists?
R: Working with clay is challenging because there are many steps to complete before one piece is finished, but for the same reason it is also rewarding. Be patient with the process and with yourself: there will be many trials and errors, but there is something special in creating beauty from what once was just mud. It is worth it!