Peas Please: A Potter Talks About the Inspiration and Process Behind her “Sweet Pea” Vessels

Ceramic artist Kim Westad started out her career as a graphic designer, but soon realized that she didn’t want to sit at a computer all day. Following the suggestion of a friend she decided to take a pottery class. And, as she puts it, “it didn’t take long for me to realize that working with clay was what had been missing from my creative life.” Eventually, she left her steady paycheck behind and took the plunge into pottery full time. In today’s video, Kim talks about the inspiration behind her work and takes us through the process of making one of her signature forms: the Sweet Pea. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor

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Do you like hearing about process and inspiration straight from the potter’s mouth? Then check out Collaboration: The Ceramic Art of Tom Coleman and Frank Boyden in the Ceramic Arts Daily Bookstore.

To see more images of Kim Westad’s work or to purchase, visit her Etsy shop. Learn more about Kim at

  • Interesting video, and while we watch her making a sweet pea piece, she doesn’t actually explain the process or talk about the type of slip she is using.

  • I agree, a very interesting video and the pieces are fun and inventive. I would have like to know the slip used and some of the processes that she goes through. All in all a nice product.

  • Thank you, I enjoyed watching the video.

  • Great presentation….easy to watch, almost gentle. I couldn’t decipher whether the ‘slip dots’ were added to a bisque pot or, if the pot was lined with a coloured slip or glaze. Perhaps the ‘dots’ were glaze spots.

    Thank you regardless. Dawn

  • Wow – I so relate to you in so many levels, love your work.
    Thanks for the video!
    Sincerely~ Karen

  • It’s a beautiful work, so sorry, my english is bad!!! one question: the decoration, is paint(esmalte) or clay (barbotina)? I’m sorry, I don’t know say that!!! Thanks for the video!!!
    Gabriela, to Uruguay, South America.

  • Thanks for sharing your techniques and feeling about being a potter. After many years as a computer graphic artist and draftsman, pottery is the greatest tactile experience next to human physical contact. It allow me to expression in form and spacial design which was not possible on the CRT or paper. I’m grateful to you and all artist who share their techniques which help me understand and learn this great profession/hobby.

  • thanks so much everyone for your kind words! The video was produced by Etsy as part of their “this handmade life” series which illustrates the overall processes of working artists. The intent was to provide a documentary style glimpse of a working artist for a broad audience who wouldn’t necessarily be familiar with how pottery is made.

    I made the slip using the same Laguna cone 6 porcelain that I throw with and the dots were added to greenware. The interior color is underglaze.


  • So, the white dots are porcelain slip, the same that is used to build the vessel, and added to the ‘raw” greenware stage and then fired. YES?

    And, on the vase you have in your webstore, the one with the blue dots, this was colored slip applie to the piece of “raw” greenware, before firing. YES?

    It’s funny, I tried to contact you through your Etsy site (pilot error) with the very same questions these people above asked. We’re obviously pretty impressed with the simplicity of what you do combined with the beautiful impact of the finished piece! I love it when something so obvious becomes apparent. Kinda like the forest with the proverbial trees, YES?

    Thanks, Kim…they’re beautiful.


  • Before leaving the pay cheque behind to become a ceramic artist, its useful to have financial support by means of inheritance, teaching, alimony or a spouse/partner who is bringing in an adequate income to support the artist.
    Being laid off from the artists usual employment, for what ever reason, can be manipulated as an opportunity if suitable financial backup is available.
    Get the financial support, and you can call yourself a ceramic artist.

  • Thanks Sue!
    “YES” to all your questions.

  • I was unable to access the video!

  • Kim,
    Thanks for sharing your techniques. You are blessed with a talent. Don’t ever quit. I heard porcelain was hard to work with on the wheel, but you make it look so simple. Bravo!


  • Fantastic. What an inspriation. Thank you so very much for sharing your passion (AKA work) with us. I aspire to find that oneness with this medium.

    Thank you again for sharing this.

  • Way cool I am going to share this with my High School Students

  • Great Video!

    Kim, I noticed when you threw the vessel you left it on the bat. Do you leave it there until the piece is leather hard? If so, have you had any problems with uneven drying or cracking?

    I’m still a beginner, so I’m trying to learn everything I can.

  • What is the name of the tool you are using to put the dots on the vessel?

  • I love watching this video and have watched it many times. It’s inspiring and gives me such a feeling of calm. It’s great to see someone in love with their work. The forms are great.

  • Your work is beautiful and the presentation clear and inspiring!

  • I love the work and wanted to know what type of system you use to keep the tile on the wheel while you’re throwing?

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