Meet the Maker: Rising Dawn Ceramics
Rising Dawn pottery
Our Desert Sun Mug by Kelsey from Rising Dawn Ceramics was the most used mug in our cupboards of all time. We met Kelsey at our 2021 Unglued Craft Fest where she completely sold out her beautiful, functional ceramics and I’ve been a mega fan ever since. Read on to find out how this local art teacher built her ceramics business and what goes into making the best mug.
Tell us something about you.
I spent my younger years in southern Minnesota and came to Fargo to attend MSUM. I decided to stay here because the community here felt like nothing I’d experienced anywhere else. I’ve been in Fargo for nine years now! I’m an art teacher at Davies High School in Fargo. Between teaching, making pottery and hanging out with my husband and daughter, I never get bored!
Describe what kind of products you make under Rising Dawn.
I make simple and functional products. I like to use white glaze and combine it with raw clay. Everything I make is designed to be durable, functional and to be used every day, not just on special occasions.
Tell us how you started a handmade business.
In January 2020 I jumped on the wheel to make some mugs for myself and it just clicked. It felt like the right time to jump in and try to make a deal out of it. It turned out to be an interesting year, but it all worked out!
You also taught art – how has that affected your business?
I am constantly reminded that no matter what your experience level, you never stop learning. I have students come to me with questions about materials or processes, and if I don’t know the answer, we find out together. This feeds directly into the constant learning and adapting that I do in my company.
Where do you get your inspiration from for what you create?
Many inspirations come directly from my daily life. When I’m in the kitchen thinking how I wish I had a nice way to store my salt on my counter, I realize I can’t be the only one experiencing this, so I make this product !
What is your personal favorite piece that you have made so far?
I’m currently very excited about a clever way I’ve figured out how to make napkin rings!
We are obsessed with your mugs and my daily coffee mug is one of yours. What makes the perfect coffee cup?
In my opinion, it must have a comfortable grip! I try to follow a three-finger rule when it comes to grip size and grip. If a mug isn’t comfortable to hold, I don’t think they’ll pick it out of the closet.
What might surprise people about working with ceramics?
There is so much failure. This is probably the biggest challenge for my students and new learners. You have to accept that things break and that it’s okay. Also, making pottery requires you to develop a unique resilience. Just keep trying and practicing!
What is a craft you haven’t really dabbled in that you’d like to try one day?
Printmaking! It’s a class I didn’t have time to take in college, and I know there are some cool relationships between printmaking and ceramics that I’d love to try someday.
What did you enjoy most about this artisan shop?
I love meeting customers at markets, attending community events, and seeing people smile as they look through my mugs to find the one that works for them.
What’s the biggest challenge?
Burnout is real. Especially since I teach full time. I had to learn that it’s okay to turn down orders and take time off. I never want this art form to feel like a burden!
Which word best describes you?
What advice would you have given yourself five years ago?
I would tell her that she is capable and worthy. Your art is important and people should see it. I definitely didn’t believe it at the time.
Where can people find your work?
You can find my work on my website! In the summer I also attend the Red River Market and some Unglued Craft Fest events.