Collaborator Feature: Emmalee Madden of Pinto Projects

Collaborator Feature: Emmalee Madden of Pinto Projects

Cassy Vantriet
4 minute read

I first met Emmalee at a local market in the early years of Woash, I escaped my booth (most likely made my husband stay behind and pour samples for people walking by) as I was browsing around, her simplistic and earthy display caught my eye, I was captivated by her unique design and earthy toned ceramics. It seemed as if she was the only one creating styles that could last a lifetime on your shelf. We got to talking about being business owners, how she created Pinto Projects and the process of bringing one of these designs to life. 

I wasn't about to waste time as I had a strong feeling that I wanted to collaborate with her and utilize her talents. It wasn't long till I had a rough sketch of our soon to be Coastal Mug and discussing the finer details of feel, comfortability, size and colour to enhance the experience of sipping a cup of tea. 

Since then we have introduced a new colour, Cloud and our reusable Me Time Candle tumbler. You can often find us chatting new designs and unique pieces to elevate any personal ritual. 

"It welcomes the user to fully embrace their mug for a perfect me time moment"

Interview with Emmalee Madden of Pinto Projects

What was the pivotal moment that made you explore this creative path of ceramic making?

I have a pretty classic ceramic origin story. I had a job working on a computer and felt an itch to be creative with my hands, away from screens. I took a class at a local community centre and fell straight in love. Fast forward 5 years, I decided to jump head first into making it my career and never looked back.

How did you harness your skill?

As I mentioned, I started with a beginners wheel throwing class, which then turned into a part-time membership at that community centre for about a year. Youtube, other potters, reading, I tried to absorb as much as I could from wherever I could. There is a LOT of necessary information that you don’t learn in a class or in a studio membership. A lot of the learning has been through obsessive research, trial and error, and good old fashioned practice. 

"A lot of the learning has been through obsessive research, trial and error, and good old fashioned practice."

What do you enjoy most about your ceramic making?

There are so many things that I love about making ceramics, and doing it as a job. It’s hard to boil it down to one thing, but I will say that there are balancing forces of freedom and discipline. Discipline in that it really is a difficult skill to be mastered. It takes so much patience, dedication, and true stubbornness. But, if you can withstand this side of it, or if like me you thrive with a complicated challenge, the rewards are endless. 

How do you create space for new ideas and creativity to flow?

I think it’s important for me to intentionally block out time in my schedule to execute new ideas, outside of any pressure. My mind definitely flows a lot faster than my hands can make, which can be frustrating sometimes. 

What inspired the unique design of our collaborative Coastal Mug?

We decided on a design which fits perfectly with the Coastal Tea Steeper. A bigger handle to me also personifies comfort and welcomes the user to fully embrace their mug for a perfect ‘me time moment’. 

Emmalee Madden of Pinto Projects
Photo by Cristina Gareau

What does your process look like to bring one of the Coastal Mugs to life?

The process begins with preparing the clay and throwing the mug body on the wheel. In a day or two, the form will be stiff enough to suction onto the wheel-head upside down and be trimmed into its final form. From there the handles are attached, and the mugs are left to acclimatize with their new handles for a couple of days in a humid environment. From there they are left to dry, are fired at a low temperature, glazed on the interior, and fired again to the vitrification temperature. All in all this process generally takes about 3 weeks (though weather can significantly alter that timeframe)!

Post creating, how do you recharge and enjoy a little me time?

My me time generally consists of connecting with my other interests outside of pottery. Playing or listening to music, tinkering in the garden, and spending time with people I love all help me to refocus, recharge, and reconnect to myself. 

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Timeless design | Locally Handmade | Dishwasher Safe | Best Seller A timeless mug for all your infusions! Crafted by hand with meticulous attention to detail and physical comfort in mind. Pair it with our custom tea infuser for the perfect cup every time.… read more

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