Lakyn Bowman, Humboldt, Tennessee

Ceramics Monthly: What is the most valuable advice you’ve received as an artist? 

Lakyn Bowman: The first day of my last semester of undergraduate school, my class sat around the worktable to set goals for ourselves. Through general conversation, one of the students was talking about the phrase, “Fake it till you make it,” and a fellow student said, “Make it till you make it.” I wrote it down on the inside page of the cover of my sketchbook in 2018 and have been living by this phrase ever since. 

1 Whiskey cups with found caddy, 15 in. (38 cm) in length, red stoneware, underglaze, colored slip, glaze, fired to cone 6 in oxidation, 2022.

I interpreted this phrase to mean the following: Keep making and don’t give up; one day your hard work will be seen and it will be worth it. Keep being authentic and making work you enjoy. The more you practice, the better the work will be. The discipline of showing up leads to more practice and new discoveries within the small things that inform the work. Because you consistently kept on making, one day the work will feel confident and be introduced to the world. 

One of my favorite books is Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. Within that book, on page 61, one of my favorite quotes is “A piece of art is the surface expression of a life lived within productive patterns.” 

CM: How do you come up with the forms and surfaces that are prevalent in your work?

LB: I own my own online vintage home-decor shop and have two antique-mall booths where I sell vintage items in person. I am constantly sourcing vintage items through estate sales, thrift stores, garage sales, etc. A lot of the estate sales I attend are time capsules from the 1960s–70s. Shopping for authentic vintage items in these homes is as close as I can get to truly experiencing these decades. 

2 Salt-and-pepper shakers, 4½ in. (11 cm) in length, red stoneware, underglaze, colored slip, glaze, fired to cone 6 in oxidation, 2022. Photos: Eric Botbyl.

I pull patterns and color palettes from wallpapers, canisters, couches, and dinner plates that I find. Many of those items’ surfaces feel distressed by the many decades of mundane utility, while still maintaining their beauty. Using a monoprinting technique, I emulate the colors and textures from the items I thrift. My forms directly reference mid-century kitchenware such as coffee carafes, barware, and canisters.

Learn more at