Whenever we take a scroll through Jarmél Reitz's Instagram, we can't help but crack a smile. After several years of trying to create work based on other people's ideas, Jarmél realized she could use ceramics as an outlet to express the ideas in her own head, and boy would we love to live in her world. It's a place full of smiling rainbows with clouds at each end, where alligators carry balloons, and where snakes and frogs can fall in love. Her work has been deservedly featured on several platforms (including the Urban Outfitters blog) and sets out to spread beauty and happiness. Jarmél's planters and other pieces are covered in baby rainbows, smiling jaguars, and an assortment of other cartoonized animals and personified objects. We love her whimsical approach to illustrative narratives and wish her the best of luck as she continues to add rainbows to the world.
How did you come to be interested in working with clay?
I took my first ceramic class when I was around 11. I instantly fell in love. I used to spend a lot of time as a child sculpting things out of modeling clay. My love for creating things in that way has never left me. I enjoy every part of the process. It makes me very happy. I decided to choose it as a career so I could enjoy my work days/daze as I made my way through the world.
What inspires your work?
Everything. All of the things around me. My dreams. My family and friends. Colors. Animals. Amazing art, new and old. Cultures. There is beauty and art in everything...at least that’s what I choose to see, and it all inspires me.
What’s your favorite thing about clay?
It’s pretty tough to decide on one favorite thing about clay. I love that even when someone isn’t so great at working with clay that it still brings them so much joy. It’s ancient. It’s for everyone.
What has been the most challenging part of pursuing ceramics?
Trying to make a living off of it. It’s a hard road to try and make a living off of art in general. I want to be able to have time to work on sculptures and art pieces more, but they’re a lot harder to sell than a mug or a planter. It’s hard to find the time to be able to work on all the ideas in my head when I have to concentrate on making things that sell more so I can live.
Which AMACO products do you always find yourself going back to? How do these products speak to your work?
I use AMACO Velvet Underglazes for most of my work. I get primary colors, black + white in gallons and mix all the colors I need. I use the High-Fire Zinc-Free Clear glaze very often. These products speak to my work like they are old friends that need each other and will definitely grow old together.
If you were an ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?
Vanilla bean sweetened with honey with fresh Spanish figs and a pinch of Celtic sea salt because that doesn’t exist and that’s what I want.
What's your biggest pet peeve?
That people harvest corn before it’s ready and call it baby.
Finish this sentence: I would rather be ___________.
... making it rain than always checking my account balance.
If you could hop on a plane right now and go anywhere, where would you go and why?
I would grab all my warmest clothes and fly to the Arctic Bay and get as close as I can to narwhals while it’s still summer.
[We know we're posting this in March, but we really hope you got to see some narwhals before summer ended.]