We've had the pleasure of interviewing Signe Sampou from Siggy Ceramics, we've shared our conversation below.
Hi Signe, can you give our readers an introduction to your business?
Siggy Ceramics was officially born in the summer of 2021. I attended Green Mountain College and earned a BFA with a concentration in ceramics. In the years that followed, I found myself struggling to find avenues to make work in my post-grad life. Thus, I made a big change and moved back to the Cape to put my ceramics degree to use! I bought a wheel, a kiln, and built myself a sweet little home studio in West Barnstable. My pots are available on my website and at select retail locations on Cape.
I’m mainly interested in ceramic work as a mode of visual story-telling. As a lifelong illustrator, I was taken with ceramics only when I realized I could draw on the pots. It opened my eyes to an entirely new canvas for my illustration, one that a viewer can hold, use, build a relationship with.
I like to describe my work as children’s-book-meets-dinnerware. Through illustrative surface design that interacts with physical form, I build ceramic works that communicate narratives experienced and imagined. On forms both wheel thrown and handbuilt, I use brightly colored slips and underglaze to bring to life characters and their stories. The subject matter of my work taps into a childlike sense of joy- the most consistent feedback I get from customers is that my work makes them smile! Animals, fairies, rosy cheeked grandmas and dancing vegetables commonly make appearances on my pots.
I am fascinated with the small, yet deeply significant moments of our lives. My work serves to call attention to those moments, to reflect on the humor, tenderness, and absurdity of the human experience.
In your own words, how would you define success as a maker and artist?
I think that all of these identities have different measures of success to me and that’s a conundrum I dance with in my practice. As a ceramicist, the craftsmanship and quality of my work is very important. So in the sense of my identity as a maker, I define success as mastery of my medium-is my functional work lightweight and pleasant to interact with? How well have I learned to speak the language of clay? As an artist, my measures of success are very introspective. As I mentioned before, my interest as an artist lies in conveying narrative, thus I am asking myself, how clear is this story, what emotions does the work bring up, and how far can I push these concepts while still honoring the integrity of the physical form? How my work feels to me is a huge indicator of if I’m headed in the right direction-does my work feel honest and truthful to me? My concepts of success as an artist and as a business owner are often at odds with each other. As an artist, I have a deep desire to make personal, intentional work, and that can often take a lot of time. As a business owner, I have financial goals that I’d like to meet while still keeping my ceramics accessible to my community. I love making happy, simple little mugs that sell well and become cherished staples in their new homes, yet there's another part of me that wants to push my own creative limits, even if that means making work that’s less likely to sell.
Let’s say your friend is visiting the area and wants to see your favorite hangout spots, what are some local places you’d want to show them? Places to eat, drink, visit etc.
Cape Cod locals have such intimate ties to our natural spaces and I love it. My grandfather and father were/are very involved in local coastal conservation, so I grew up scampering around the Sandy Neck Marsh Trail, appreciating our wetlands in all seasons. I would absolutely take a visiting friend out there to check out the breathtaking marsh views of Cape Cod.
If a friend with a pooch is visiting I absolutely take them to the Old Sandwich Game Farm behind Scorton Creek in East Sandwich-besides having such a gorgeous, diverse array of trails, I’m always delighted by how many sweet, friendly dogs (and owners!) I get to meet while enjoying my walk.
To continue with my hypothetical day in East Sandwich, I’m taking us to Off The Grid food truck. Folks who aren't so big on barbeque can still find yummy veggie options, and the relaxed outdoor seating is great for folks who still want to be covid-conscious (or just enjoy the outdoors!)
Is there something coming up that you'd like to share with our readers?
Yes, I'm hosting a clay workshop at Sturgis Library on April 19th at 12:30pm. You can find more info on Signe's workshop here
Find Siggy Ceramics online at https://www.siggyceramics.com/ and instagram at @siggy.ceramics
All images and artwork are copyright by the maker, unless stated otherwise.