On a perfect fall day a couple of months ago, I hopped on the Tillikum, one of the ferries running between the San Juan Islands, to visit Ship Supply friend and ceramicist, Chandelle Anderson.
Chandelle and her partner Spencer live on Orcas Island in a tiny cabin, a beautifully rustic space, kept in perfect harmony. The kitchen starts just short of the foot of their bed, anchored by a vintage enamel range. Floating above, her pottery is displayed on wood shelves, opposite a cozy table, sandwiched between an upright piano, wood stove, and sofa. While we drink coffee served in teal-colored earthenware, Chandelle shared how a cup is as integral to her daily rituals as the morning light. If I could, I would have lingered all day.
Buzzing from the coffee, we jumped into Chandelle’s truck and made our way down a windy island road to her Eastside studio. The workspace, sunlit and minimal, is a fitting contrast to the warmth of her home. A place to be industrious and creative, the walls hold simple, whitewashed shelves, filled with finished pottery, displaying a color palette ranging from earth tones to the blues of the nearby sea. For Chandelle, her ceramics act as a kind of ‘time capsule’, holding the island environment and the hours spent hand-crafting each object.
After more coffee and a dark chocolate or two, Chandelle rolled up the sleeves of her Curtis Top and started working a giant slab of clay—her hands moving with ease, wedging the material to eliminate every last air bubble. Central to the room is a well-used throwing wheel, where Chandelle sat straight-backed, giving shape to a new time capsule, in this case, an elegant vase. “Hand-throwing puts energy into the clay, like someone hand-knitting a sweater”, she told me as we parted.
Back at home, I went through the five rolls of film I took that day, thinking about Chandelle’s focus and energy as I cupped her ceramics in my own hands.