sustainability & self

During my slow work season of summer, before I focused on creating The Everyday Collection, I spent a lot of time thinking and meditating on how I could grow and make changes for the better; personally, within my home and in my business. Climate change is a constant topic that is being talked and written about everywhere you look these days and it played heavily in the thoughts I was having.

Time was also spent reflecting on where I have come from, not only in the past 4 years of being a potter, but all the time before that. The years of working in small jewelry studio hand beading another designer’s creations, the 15+ years I spent designing and producing clothing, my stint as a boutique owner. Years of childhood spent in art classes and piano lessons, my time spent at the Performing Arts High School. I tried to take all these parts of my life and boil them down into some kind of essence of me. I believe focusing in and staying clear with who we are and what we want is one of the keys to peace and success. Another way to think of this is as the concept of living in your ’Fullest Expression’. Gretchen Jones defines this as “being entirely and unapologetically aligned with your individual desires, archetype and mode of operating, ‘Fullest Expression’ is rooted in giving yourself the (necessary) room to create and show up for your body/mind/spirit.”

For me this means first recognizing myself as an artist and designer. My designs aim to be multi-functional, aesthetically pleasing, tactile and lend themselves to creative problem solving. Up until now I have struggled to find the connection between my life as a fashion designer and potter but after contemplating all the facets of my past I saw a link by creating a new collection loosely based on 1980’s clothing line I grew up with called MULTIPLES. It was a brand of modular clothing, each piece sold individually. Stretch pants, tunics, tube tops, dresses, skirts, and cloth belts—all offered in a variety of colors—could create a number of outfits from the core collection of pieces. It was a new wave uniform of sorts allowing for a touch of the consumer's personality. This translates to a modular, multi-functional collection of tableware that encourages the customer to experiment with the options for color and use.

Fashion is more than just a part of my career past. Dressing has been an integral part of my self expression since the time I could put clothes on myself. In all my years of designing and owning a store, I amassed a considerable wardrobe, mostly vintage. When I moved from Philadelphia to Athens, I downsized my clothing sensing a pivotal moment in defining myself. In the past 5 years of living in the South and spending most of my days covered in clay, I have reevaluated and downsized again and again.

Summer 2019 has been a fertile time for planning. Outside of business, I am trying to simplify my home and life, reduce waste, consume less. Investing in quality pieces and whittling things down to a capsule collection are current goals both in my closet and cupboards. The month of August I spent no money on clothing or unnecessary accessories. During September I am only allowing myself to shop second hand for those things and saying yes to #SecondHandSeptember. Going forward I plan on paying close attention to where I spend my dollars on those “extras”. I also hope to use this space to talk more about fashion, self-expression, consumerism and slow living. Stay tuned.

A day in the studio making tealight holders, wearing a vinatge 1980’s Bermuda plaid shirt dress covered in a handmade potter’s apron by  Portland Apron Company .

A day in the studio making tealight holders, wearing a vinatge 1980’s Bermuda plaid shirt dress covered in a handmade potter’s apron by Portland Apron Company.

Regina Mandell