The Elemental Ceramicist

The Elemental Ceramicist

Christy visits one of her favorite ceramicists, Elizabeth Di Prinzio, and throws her first piece of clay!

May 3, 2019

Elizabeth Di Prinzio

Elizabeth Di Prinzio was born in The Bay Area and was raised by 18-year-old parents who encouraged her to choose what she loved. She went to school for Theater Arts and later moved to Los Angeles, where she spent over a decade in the entertainment industry. While pursuing her acting career, she lead the operations of well-known photography and film studio, Siren Studios. Her passion shifted from a life in front of the camera to working behind-the-scenes as she helped Siren Studios evolve from one small stage to a multi-million dollar operation. However,Elizabeth started to feel as though she lost touch with nature and the true meaning of a happy life, so she embarked on a new path.

So you did a 180 with your career! What signaled you to make such a drastic change in your life?

Yes, I’ve done it a few times in my life actually. There’s an energy I feel working on an assignment and once those feelings start to fade, I know it’s time to let it go and allow space and time to align me in the next direction. There was a defining moment one night after a long day at work. I walked into a small pottery studio near my house. My business work clothes were still on, I had a cell phone that would never stop ringing and I rebelliously put it on silent and jumped on the wheel. The feeling of clay in my hands just felt right, I looked down at this bowl and said to myself "I really wish THIS was my job". So I took a leap of faith and found myself in Topanga Canyon quickly diving into the unknown and I wasn’t going to stop until I gave it 100%. This was 2015 and I had to teach myself how to throw, glaze, fire a kiln and start a business from scratch!

Liz In The Dawn Dress

How did it feel to listen to an inner knowingness? (It’s a voice I don’t think most people listen to!)

Well, it felt really scary and it was a difficult transition for me. A life lesson and conversation with myself on the word "Ego". I was giving up a title that took me nine years to earn, and a lifestyle that was comfortable. But, I look up to the clouds for signals on when and where to go and so far it’s lead me through a wonderful life. The question to always ask is "When are you at your highest vibration"? Do that. Whatever that it is. And the rest will align when the work has been done. Your body was designed to notify you. Just listen.

How has creating with your hands changed your perception of how you move throughout the day? Is there a newfound awareness with your whole body in general?

It’s changed the perception of my entire mind, body, and spirit. There’s a calmness I get to explore daily that I wish everyone could experience. The feeling of forgetting time and space when you’re lost in it... it’s a beautiful spiritual place to dwell. It also changed the perception of how I see the world evolving. Times are changing and people want connection. Connection with the vessels they eat and drink from. It’s becoming very important to invite pieces into your home that make you feel good and come from good people, as opposed to a house full of "things", and I’m so honored to witness and be a part of this. I refer to this as The Makers’ Revolution.

Christy In The Penny Jumper in Steel

Christy In The Penny Jumper in Steel.
(Releasing later this month.)

What have you noticed within yourself now that you’re a craftsman?

I now pay attention to where things come from. My level of respect has risen for makers, farmers and anyone trying to run a small business with ethics. The food we eat, the clothes we wear and the businesses we support should be a daily thought before handing over our money. I now know how long it takes to make a cup, bowl, plate and I watch my fellow colleagues working very hard to sustain their passion with their bare hands, and I do believe that this will be the new way of doing business. Direct access from farm to table, from the maker to consumer.

Liz In The Lennon Dress

The name of your brand is very profound and powerful. How did the name Earth+Element come together?

Well, I was an actress for some years and I knew that I wanted to live behind another name besides my own for a while. I’m not really someone who loves the spotlight so imagining people saying my name and then stamping my name on pots all day was something I steered clear from. Plus, my work is not owned by me - it’s actually a collaboration between dirt, air, water, fire and I am merely the facilitator for the Earth and its Elements, hence Earth + Element. It felt like the perfect fit, and it happened to be an unused domain :)

There’s a beautiful organization and cohesiveness to all your pieces. What’s your process?

Not to rush. I work on designs for six months to a year before I get to the final design. Good things take time. I also design in a way that doesn’t allow for pieces to become outdated. Customers should be allowed the opportunity to build their tableware collection. Sit with their wares, eat off them, find a color they love and mix and match. So I try and stay with glazes that work well together and add new forms and designs from there. Throughout the year I’m testing colors and new shapes and investigating problems while making sure that my work is authentic and one-of-a-kind.

My work is not owned by me, it’s actually a collaboration between dirt, air, water, fire.

"My work is not owned by me, it’s actually a collaboration between dirt, air, water, fire."

Your style is very feminine and soft, yet quite strong at the same time. Is this a reflection of who you are?

We are all a mirrored reflection of what we attract, so as an artist we can’t help but to also transfer that into our work. As an earthly woman, I embrace my femininity and play with the soft and delicate space in my heart. There’s also that teetering and sway as a businesswoman where I need to access the space in my mind which transfers into my designs when I want things to make sense, be organized and functional.

Liz In The Lillian Dress

Liz In The Lillian Dress

There seems to be a lot of reverence for "beauty" with your brand and how you show and share each piece. What makes something beautiful to you?

There’s a feeling that beauty radiates - it’s when I’m stopped in my tracks. It is most often found in a forest or sunset. There’s no better paintbrush than the one found in nature. All my inspiration for Earth + Element comes from an appreciation of nature and then I work on bringing those elements into your home. I have these roses in my yard sprouting new shades that take my breath away as they cannot be replicated, they’re here for a short time while blasting hues I’ve never seen before. That is beauty, and a lesson that diversity and originality will always stand the test of time.

Are you able to be more present in life and with your partner since you have to be very present and aware during the entire creation of each piece?

I would say that it’s a skill to act as an artist and an entrepreneur and to find the time for everyone in your life, but I make sure everyone is feeling loved and noticed.

Liz In The Lillian Dress, Christy In The Bijou Dress

Liz In The Lillian Dress
Christy In The Bijou Dress

Sculpting clay seems very meditative. Do you find peace within this practice or does it in any way feel like a job?

To be honest, both, and both I am happy with. Life is a balancing act. Too much of one thing leaves a hole somewhere else. There’s a happy balance I’m getting from this position. One day I’m lost in new creations, jumping for joy when I open the kiln, the next day I’m running to the post office in sweats with clay on my face and then I’ll be in my best Christy Dawn dress taking design meetings to open up another beautiful shop. It all works and challenges me. The meditation comes from within and you get to choose when to slow down or speed up. When I’m in the studio making, my phone is on silent and it’s a love story between the clay and me.

How do you honor Mother Earth?

I honor Mother Earth by acknowledging that we share this planet with all living creatures and plant life, and cannot sustain without the other. I respect the circle of life and make sure what’s been taken from the soil is returned in any way I can. My home and life are minimal as I try to only take what will be used. I also share as much information with friends and family on where our food and clothes come from and help steer them into a more sustainable lifestyle whenever I can.

Follow Earth + Element @Earthandelement

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