We had the good fortune of connecting with Elizabeth Eisenstein and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elizabeth, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I have wanted to run my own business ever since I was a little kid. As young as six or seven, I was outfitting my lemonade stands with menus and other unnecessary branding! As I got older, I would frequently start small “businesses” selling art that I made: one year it was stenciled t-shirts; the next year, little crocheted animals; another year it would be embroidered reusable tea bags or gouache paintings. The idea of turning my love for making things into my full-time job was always something I wanted. I’m so happy that what I do now is exactly what my six-year-old self dreamed of!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have been making and selling pottery under the name ZZIEE Ceramics for about 6 years now. What began as a hobby in 2015, quickly grew into a brand where I could both challenge myself creatively, and grow my business skills. I addition to learning the basics of pottery and ceramics at Pasadena City College, I also worked as a production potter at MazAmar Pottery, a local pottery business in Pioneertown, CA. While there, I essentially worked as an apprentice, honing my skills at creating nearly identical mugs in high quantities. It was difficult, but also extremely rewarding, and gave me the technical skills I absolutely needed in order to advance my own pottery business. The combination of exploring my creativity whilst at PCC and refining my technical skills at MazAmar, gave me the foundation necessary to create work that I am proud of and yet never completely satisfied with. There is always something I can improve on, and that’s what keeps me endlessly devoted to clay and the ceramic process.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For the past four and a half years, I have lived in Yucca Valley, CA, which is right next to Joshua Tree National Park. My first choice would obviously be to take my guest on a whirlwind tour of the national park, complete with a sunset hike and picnic. I’d also make us reservations at the Integratron for a sound bath, followed by cocktails at the Red Dog Saloon in Pioneertown. I’d also be sure to bring them to my new studio and retail space that I’m in the process of opening–it’s located right in old town Yucca Valley and due to open in July!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Pasadena City College! I only seriously began learning and exploring the art of ceramics once I started taking classes at PCC. Prior to that, I had received my BFA from New York University, but I had only taken one semester of ceramics while there. I had played around with learning other craft forms during my undergrad education, but I didn’t dive into ceramics until a few years after I graduated. What began as a fun class that I was taking just for recreation, quickly turned into an obsession, and ultimately a career. I can’t thank my professor Carlos Ramirez enough for his guidance and encouragement. He, along with the students and staff in PCC’s ceramics department, were crucial to my growth as a ceramicist and potter.