Analog Living: Alexandria Cummings
At Schoolhouse, we view the term "analog living" as a road back to connecting with ourselves, our home, and the important people in our lives. We believe in creating future nostalgia through objects, and think that part of crafting a meaningful life full of joy and intention is working to balance analog ways of doing things with our digital world.
That being said, this year we're focusing on community, creativity, and the things that inspire us both in our home and in our lives by spending time with artists that leave us feeling creatively energized. To kick off this new series, we sat down with beloved Portland ceramicist Alexandria Cummings in both her home and her studio to chat creative rituals, current inspiration, and what analog living means to her.
If you had to choose three words to describe what you love most about ceramics, what would they be?
Process, Tactile, Unknown(s)
Do you have any routines or rituals you rely on to assist in your creative practice?
I do a lot of planning and make sure to outline my day, week, and month. I have white board after white board and lots of little paper lists everywhere. I also can’t forget to mention my master spreadsheet, haha. This preamble is important to me. Even if I wind up doing something completely different! Honestly, in many areas of my life I can be a bit scattered, always coming up with new ideas or daydreaming in general… I think always designing my workflow like a picture in my head keeps me on track. Oh, and starting and ending the day with a clean and organized studio!
We would love to hear a little bit about what's currently inspiring you right now! What are you listening to or reading?
I’ve always been really drawn to architecture, interior design, plants, and animals. Most recently, I took a trip to the Yucatan in Mexico and was completely in awe of the colors, textures, materials and history that surrounded this beautiful area. I took a lot of photos of winding streets with multicolored homes, ruins featuring ancient Mayan carvings, and flower shops selling brightly colored arrangements just to name a few. And for a bit of symmetry at home, I just finished the movie Encanto which was bright, colorful, and full of energy. I loved it and would recommend!
Making ceramics is of course a very analog process, and I'm curious what the word "analog" means to you? How does it show up throughout the rest of your life?
To me, ceramics are one of the ways I connect with people, specifically my family. My great grandmother and grandfather were craftspeople who played a large role in my childhood. Their artwork has filled the walls and shelves of my kitchen growing up and still does now. My great grandmother was a ceramicist and until the end of her life we regularly exchanged tips and ideas about ceramics. Now the objects I make with my hands can be passed down, connecting me to the people they are passed to. I love that something I’ve put so much consideration and time into is out there in the hands of somebody I may never meet or know.
Part of what we love most about your work is how bright and colorful it is. It brings a certain sense of joy to everyday moments such as having coffee in the morning, or sitting down to enjoy a meal after a long day. What draws you to make ceramics in such inspiring and vibrant colorways?
I can’t help it. I am constantly drawn to bright colors or unexpected combinations. If you were to walk down the street with me, you might find me continually wandering off the path to capture a photograph of some surprising splash of color. That tendency has been known to test the patience of those walking with me, particularly my husband but he always allows me the indulgence. After all, it seems to be working!