We love supporting local artists whenever we can, so of course we were super excited to partner with Ryan of VanHoy Pottery in Indianapolis to create some new custom planters for the shop. We wanted to know why Ryan lives and breathes pottery, so we sat down and asked him a few questions. Meet Ryan:
Why did you choose pottery? Or did pottery choose you?
RV: I took a pottery class in high school in 1994 because the drawing class was full. I really liked throwing on the wheel because of the immediacy (after the learning curve). I think I continue to choose pottery because it is repetitive and meditative and gets me out of my cycle of thinking. I can look at what I’ve made and make more based on what is there.
Tell us more about your products and how you make them?
RV: My work is wheel thrown stoneware and porcelain tableware and pots for the home. They are simple in design to accentuate the touch of hand to material. I make cups and bowls and plates and planters. While I have a design in mind that design is always subject to change. I like to make a lot of a given shape to see subtle differences from one piece to the next.
What most influences your work and designs?
RV: Probably my own personality which tends toward overthinking and spaciness. It makes me need to focus in the studio on specific simple shapes and functions . Like I am focusing on the cylinder shape now and how that can serve multiple functions. Also, I work with local businesses to make pots for their particular needs. I enjoy collaborating because it gets me out of myself and I can use what I know to directly serve someone else’s need.
What would be the most ultimate career-defining pottery piece you could make, if it were attainable?
RV: Hmmm, my career is so indefinite at this point. I’m thinking of making lamps and sinks in the shape of ramen bowls most recently. That has me pretty excited. But will it be career defining? Best not to worry about how it will come together but rather stay energized and in the moment. I’m enjoying working on many things right now!
How long have you been doing pottery? What do you love most about it?
RV: 40 (my age) minus 16 (my age when I started) is 24 years. I love that it is simple and complex and evolves as I evolve. I love that people can use my work and it can become a part of their lives!
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
RV: A guy I gave a Lyft ride to the other night said something that stuck in my head “you make money; money doesn’t make you.” Also this Arthur Ashe quote that says “start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” I collect quotes and these have stuck with me most recently.
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
RV: My nine year old daughter is pretty funny. She called a boy “Matthew Cashew” because he’s “nuts” and then had to explain what a cashew is to the poor young man.
What's your favorite jam to sing to in the car alone? If you don't sing in the car alone, what was the last show you binge watched?
RV: I like Bob Dylan and Greg Brown so maybe the second question is a better bet for this one. I just watched the second season of Stranger Things.
What are you excited about for the future of your business?
RV: Working with Chef Neal Brown on dishes for Ukiyo. Anything that helps me grow and stay energized.
Thanks for chatting with us Ryan!
You can find some of Ryan's work (including the finished product of these fun new planters we commissioned) at our shop in Fountain Square!
Photos by Jasmine Tafoya Photography.