Amanda Wright clearly has an eye for design and a love of form, in many ways! A move to the Napa Valley surprisingly ignited a passion for clay that she is now happily able to fuel and share!
Amanda grew up with a very creative family that included painters, potters, jewelry designers, and woodworkers. And she will tell you that, “My mom has always been my greatest influence; she encouraged me to make things my whole life.” A creative direction then comes naturally.
From a fashion design career in LA, which included costume design for TV and movies, Amanda is now deeply ensconced in a more gentle way of life here in northern California’s enchanting and bucolic wine country, the Napa Valley. She enjoys the slower-paced lifestyle, and space to explore, with her husband and their 2 children.
Not knowing what a move like that would ultimately bring, she was open to all kinds of adventure. As art has always been a part of their lives, she often spent time with her children at a local haven for all forms of art here in the Valley, Nimbus Arts, which provides instruction in a myriad of art mediums for all ages. Finding herself signed up with her children for a kid’s pottery class, she hadn’t expected much. But the first time she put her hands in the clay, that was it! She had worked with clay a long time ago before the fashion design business became the creative expression she pursued. And this one experience brought back a flood of warm memories of that experience long ago and a feeling that this was a direction she needed to embrace. There’s been no looking back!
The common thread in Amanda’s pottery is simplicity and balance. Each of the traditional forms is charged with a modern spirit. Function meets form. The utilitarian art invites you to use each piece in daily life. When designing a new line of ceramics, Amanda sticks to her trademark set of rules: “I start with a theme, a color palette and a cohesive group of designs,” she says. “Then I follow up with the essential details to pull it all together.”
Details these days can include sweeping chain links on a classic vase or corset ties at the neck of a pitcher, which are clearly whimsically inspired by Wright’s former fashion design career. Her process—making functional, wheel-thrown objects and then dressing them with hand-built accents— has echoes in fashion as well. “The objects are essentially the dress forms and the accents are the outfits or accessories,” she explains. Emblematic of her unique aesthetic, her Servitude line, sold through Cavalier by Jay Jeffers, is marked by a matte-black or natural white finish and accoutrements like rivets and chains. “I love getting lost in the details and design,” she explains, “but what’s most important is being able to use these pieces in our daily lives.”
It’s easy to tell this new direction suits her well as she lights up when she talks about her latest clay project, her cozy studio amidst the vines, and how she enjoys interacting with customers at the local Farmers Markets.
She is also heartily ‘giving back’ in the sense that she is now a presenting artist at Nimbus Arts. We love it! You can sign up for her upcoming “Fun-ctional art”! class here that starts this Thursday, March 24th: Functional Fun With Ceramic Forms The class focuses on the basics of slab, coil and wheel thrown construction to create unique mugs, vases, and organic forms while keeping clean, sleek and traditional lines. Techniques in pattern and glazing are also covered.
In the meantime, follow the sound of the music …“Let Her Go,” by Passenger, “Walk Away,” by Ben Harper, or “Landslide,” by Fleetwood Mac, and you are undoubtedly going to find Amanda, happily elbow deep in clay! Thank you Amanda for sharing with us and sharing your passion with this community through Nimbus!
Culture, community, health, flavor, ingredients, vessel and setting – these are all so important for a meal that leaves you feeling energized and exactly what we intend from Crisp! Thanks again Amanda for the inspiration!