We had the good fortune of connecting with Ilona Golovina and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ilona, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
It was in the middle of the pandemic, after not being employed for a while, that I started to think about opening a business simply because I realized that it is up to me to have or not to have a job and the second realization was that I could also help others to have some sort of an income meanwhile we are waiting for the life to get back to its norm. That’s when I decided to open a retail store in Williamsburg to sell handmade local and one of a kind ceramics. I did a research and found a few NY based potters whose work I liked and luckily for me they were open to my ideas and that is how we started. By the way, I moved out from the store a few moths ago and operating an online business as well as popup shops.
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 find a great pleasure in working with my hands and making ceramics helps me to fulfill this need as well as to express myself creatively. I work in solitude and it brings me a peace of mind and calmness – the things that are so import and rare to find in a city like New York. In my work I emphasize and celebrate imperfections, naturalness and simplicity. I work in the same techniques that has been known for thousands of years and I feel connected with many generations of people throughout my work. At this point I am at the very begging of my artistic journey as a ceramic artist. Every dayI wake up inspired to discover, learn and try something new, there are so many fascinated things about this medium and I feel grateful for having this experience.
With that being said, sometimes it is hard to maintain the routing and I often find myself caught up in other activities that take up lot of my time and I get frustrated if I can’t find time for working at my studio during the day. The biggest challenge is to find the right balanced structure within my days and to find the time for all the things that are supposed to be done, and to be honest I am not there yet, but I keep trying every day, thats the only recipe I have.
I am an intuitive person and sometimes I make decisions that can’t be described as well thought through and they can be scary and risky, but over the time I learned to trust myself and my path and have fun figuring out how to make it all work and what’s next. It’s like jumping from the cliff – exciting and terrifying and you sort of know that it’s going to be ok, you just need to make that first step. The lesson I learned is when there is an idea worth of exploring and you don’t know if it is going to work out, my way is to close my eyes, jump and enjoy the free fall and refreshing water.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Williamsburg in Brooklyn, it is a very saturated area that has a lot to offer and this is where I would begin if someone new comes to town. We would start from a walk on the waterside to see the Manhattan skyline and Williamsburg bridge and then would grab a coffee and a bite in Marlow and Sons, then we would cross the bridge to the city and would wonder around LES making our way to Soho, exploring small galleries – I recently discovered a place called Chinatown Soup https://www.chinatownsoup.nyc/ @chinatownsoup, it is a gallery, cafe and art residencies, also Michelle who runs the space can give you a tarrot reading over a cup of tea. Next stop Fanelli cafe https://fanellicafe.nyc/ on Prince and Mercer, old school bar and Soho since 1847, here we would grab a beer and chat with Mary and Danny who tend the bar, this place has a great atmosphere and you never know you will meet there, except for the regulars of course, there are quite a few characters that can be found there any time. For Chinese food we would stop at Public Village 23 Essex St, New York, NY 10002 and have their drunken noodle, one of the best I’ve tried. For a special occasion dinner we could go to La Mercerie https://www.lamerceriecafe.com/ but not only for dinner, they have a mind bowing collection of ceramics and design objects, I visited it a few days ago and I am still under impression. Back to Williamsburg, next stop RSOAA https://rsoaa.com/ – an artists run gallery that I was a part of for a couple years, they have show openings every first Friday of each month, good way to meet local artists. Another place worth of exploring nearby is Maisonemeute https://www.maisonemeute.com/ sustainable closing brand at Rosa New York @rosa_newyork. Besides great fashion, Maisonemeute throws great parties at the store and my friend @funkyfelonious usually plays music there https://soundcloud.com/felonious_funk . If we are lucky we could catch Glinda the good @glindathegoodbus bus that would take us on a magical trip around the neighborhood with good music and good people. Last stop – Lighting society https://www.lightningsociety.com @lightningsociety – coliving space in East Williamsburg with great events and parties on their rooftop.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This is going to be a long list 🙂 I think I should start from thanking Nic Harteau, first of all for supporting this crazy idea of opening a business in a such a weird time and for his help with many things related to this project. Thank you my dearest friend and my family.
I am endlessly grateful to all the artists who trusted me and who were very flexible and were willing to adjust to all the changes.
Maria Teresa Castillo from Forma Rosa Studio (@formarosastudio)
Zofi Lipton @zofi_and_clay
Chala Toprak @dearyouceramics
Pedro Ramirez @fugaz_works
Alex Vo Duy @avdceramics
Lilian Wu @llills
Selene Noel @selene.noel
Katia Rios @kr.ceramics
Anjuli Wright @studioanjuli
Stephanie Kim @shikkuclay
Abbey Rich @arichstudio
Dena Soukieh @denadesigns
Ginny Redgate @ginny.redgate
Jessica Campbell @messyjessyceramics
Jen D’arbenzio @jen_darbenzio
Alyssa Beza @alyssabeza
Tanya Shyika @wash_inside_out
Heidi Woo @wooceramics
Fernanda Uribe @fernanda___uribe
Zack Pintchik @zackpintchik
Alyona Kuzmina @alyonakuzmina
Nastya Komorova @mooqko
Caryn Cast @caryncast
Owise Abuzaid @owiseabuzaid
Amit Elkayam @amitelk
Katia Turkina @turkinafaso
Ye Fan @ye.fan
I hope I am not forgetting anyone.
Special thanks to Jack Woods @jack_inthebooks who even before I started to think about having a ceramic brand, asked me if I had one what would be the name of it. Maybe if it wasn’t for that question there wouldn’t be Mugly.NYC today.
I also want to thank all of my friends who have been very supporting in so many ways – coming to the store and buying pieces, showing up for my events and invite people, spreading the word, comforting me in difficult times and celebrating little victories together.
Ilona Golovina Maria Panina