Culture Maker: Artist April Nickel of Meha Ceramics
April Nickel is a force of good in this world, Mom.
Her mugs, vases, tumblers, and dishes sport rainbows, smiley-faces, peace-signs, and daisies. They’re youthful and fun at first glance, but a speckled, earthy patina gives each of them a wise, old soul. These objects have been around. They’ve got stories to tell. And they have an important message for you, so they’re not going to mince words: It’s... PEACE. It took thoughtful, curious, calm, April to breath them to life.
Meet peace-maker, April Nickel.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm a wife and mother, and also a mess most of the time. I was lucky enough to be encouraged at an early age to express myself though art. Although I studied fashion design and fiber arts in college, and worked in the jewelry design and retail business for several years, it wasn't until after I had my children that I realized clay was the medium I could best express myself.
2. Describe your work.
My work is an expression of my soul, and sometimes that's all peace and love, but also darker moments, with a nod to the melancholy. Perhaps that's why my Yin/Yang pieces are so popular. Since that symbol really is who I am, and what life is really.
I love the uniqueness of making things by hand. The imperfections that add character to each piece. Even if a crack or glaze imperfection occurs during the process, I love how it makes the work look like an artifact or a beloved object passed down through generations.
3. What do you do most days? Do you have a routine?
Most days I wake up at 5am and do some yoga or ride my stationary bike, (So 80’s, but I hate working out in public). Take my girls to school, then I get elbow deep in clay, usually working on orders, experimenting in between. Then a cup of toasted rice green tea as I space out for a while (a favorite pastime of mine), and I'm off to pick up my girls from school. Get home, start dinner, touch up anything I worked on in the morning, then I'm usually ready for a glass of wine before mindless TV time, more clay touch ups, and then sleep (another favorite pastime, not just rest but dreams).
4. Describe something you’ve created that makes you proud.
In life, my two daughters, Daphne and Felixe, by far my greatest creation that can't be matched. In my career, my newest collection I've created called Symbols of Hope & Despair. Making these pieces has helped me better understand and deal with constant themes throughout my life like euphoria and grief, belonging and being ignored.
5. Who/What is inspiring you these days?
Besides waching my girls unique personalities and developing style, I'm inspired by the cycle of life and death and thoughts of what comes after where we are now. I'm also obsessed with researching ceramic art, sculpture, and basketry specifically from Mexico and Japan, currently.
7. What music are you listening to?
I love music and feel it necessary for survival. What I listen to depends on my mood. Currently listening to Solange, Aldous Harding, and Sam Smith, and HER on repeat, but my essentials are Neil Young, Heart, Nina Simone, The Smiths, Bauhaus, Otis Redding, Aretha, James Brown, and Lauryn Hill, and if you know me well then you know I have an obsession with Bollywood soundtracks from the 60's and 70's.
9. What clothes are making you feel good?
10. How can we support you and your work?
By following me on Instagram, like, tag, and share my work with others. Also shop my pieces via my Etsy shop or from my Stockists. Most important though, would be to have patience with me between shop updates and restocks. I chose this path to work for me and my life. I am not a machine, only a fellow human being.
Thanks so much April, fellow human being, otherworldly talent!
Keep spreading the good word!!!!
Follow April (Meha Ceramics) on Instagram
Favorite her Etsy Shop
And check back next week for “Uncovering the Cool; What April Likes” for more info on the cool mentions above!