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QB Artist Profile: Bang Bang Crafts

by Lauren Steinhardt August 06, 2015

A photo posted by Korin Noelle (@korinnoelle) on



If you've stopped by the Queen Bee store lately, you've probably seen and fallen in love with one or more tiny ceramic creatures that are now occupying our shop. These adorable animals, pincushions, planters and more are the creations of our newest vendor, Bang Bang Crafts. We love them so much! We caught up with Korin, the genius behind the squeeee, for a chat about art, sculpting, inspiration, and all kinds of other stuff too.



A photo posted by Korin Noelle (@korinnoelle) on



QB: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you are all about?


Korin: I am a creator of many things, but my preferred medium is clay. I have been throwing and sculpting for over a decade, and am still in love with the feeling of creating things for others to enjoy. I received my BFA in Ceramics from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Now I own and operate Radius Community Art Studio in Portland, Oregon. Radius is my second home where I work, teach and craft my time away (a pretty good way to spend it if you ask me)!  

QB: How did you get started with crafting/ceramics? What makes ceramics special for you?
I did a little bit of clay work in high school, but it wasn't until I took my first class in college that I really fell in love with it. I had an amazing professor who showed me the power behind creating objects that embody meaning and evoke emotions. I still feel like clay is the magic medium because of the endless possibilities of what you can do with it. I love playing with different forms, functions, designs, building techniques and surface treatments. There is always something new to learn in the ceramic world, so it keeps me engaged in a way that no other art form has been able to.  

A photo posted by Korin Noelle (@korinnoelle) on




QB: Our customers are really drawn to your work. I think it's because the pieces have an open, playful vibe that inspires connection. Plus they are adorable! Where do you find your inspiration? Do you have any special animal friends (or people friends) who act as your muses? 
A while back I got sick of the work I was doing and wanted take a new direction. I felt a little stuck so I decided to just let myself play and have fun in the studio and not worry too much about what any of the work i was doing meant or how it would be received. In art school its a big no-no to make anything that could be considered "cute", so it took me a bit to allow myself to let go of that. But, as soon as I did I found myself really enjoying my work again. It was really a bonus/surprise that others seemed to love it too! It was really validating to feel like if i did what i loved that it would show, and that other people would love it too. I started finding a lot of shops interested in selling my work which encouraged me to keep working in this way. So now I just continue to  grow my  little army of creatures, forever trying to out-cute myself. Oh, and my muses are all the animals of the world. I grew up in what most would consider a zoo, with more pets than i can count throughout the years. I currently have a one eyed papillion dog named Toby and an incredibly old cat named Emily, and they are the loves of my life.

A photo posted by Korin Noelle (@korinnoelle) on




QB: What is your work process like? Do you sketch things first or is it more of a three-dimensional process?
My work process involves equal parts sketching ideas and building without a plan. Throughout the day if i feel inspired or get an idea for something i will doodle it in my sketchbook. Then i often forget about it until later when I get stuck or feel like starting something new and look back through my notes and drawings. The fun part about the pieces I am making now is that they are all one of a kind, so I feel like I can be playful and take risks with them. I never make molds or try and mass produce these pieces. I made one attempt at that and they all lost their little creature souls...it was very sad.
When I allow myself to be organic with them, sometimes they don't turn out, but sometimes i'll discover a new way to build a form or draw an eyeball and I will run with that for a while. New creatures evolve from older ones, and sometimes familiar faces reappear in new versions as the work develops. Each little creature has its own personality, which sometimes comes from the shape or marks of the piece, and sometimes it is a direct projection of my own feelings onto the clay. If I am having a particularly bad day, i often find I have a group of crying little kitten pots on my work table...but the best part of that is I usually feel much better after finishing them! 
QB: What is your favorite part of being a crafter/sculptor?
Hmmm...its hard to choose a favorite...With  my more recent work in particular, my favorite part has been making things that make other people happy. I like seeing people smile or hearing them squeal in excitement when they see a piece I made that they connect to. I love hearing the stories of the pets they remind them of, where they will put the pieces, who they will gift them too, etc. I always love seeing pictures of my work in other people's homes.
Aside from my more commercial work, I often use art to sort out my own thoughts or feelings, and I feel lucky to have this outlet. Last but not least I am incredibly happy that I am at the point in my life where I can make a living doing what I love. Between running Radius, teaching classes there, and selling my work I was able to quit my full time job last year and just focus on my creative life. I feel very lucky and thankful to be living that dream. 
QB: Anything else you'd like to share?
Please follow me on instagram @ KorinNoelle for "creature of the day" photo updates. Come visit me or take a class at Radius Community Art Studio- you can check out Radiusstudio.org for more info on our facilities where we offer workspace and classes in painting, printmaking, fibers, drawing and ceramics. Shop online at bangbangcrafts.etsy.com or email me at bangbangcraft@gmail.com (I love doing custom orders)!!! Thanks for reading!

Lauren Steinhardt
Lauren Steinhardt


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