Travel Journal: Magpie Mischief
Today on the travel journal, I got to interview another very talented maker, Anni Christie, owner of Magpie Mischief.
Anni makes the most adorable ceramic fox spoon rests, and gnome ring cones that I never knew I needed before! Inspired by her travels to Finland, and her move from Florida to Michigan, her pottery tells a unique story, keep reading below to find out more.
Oh, and did I mention that she's completely renovating her house, and making way for what sounds like an amazing home studio for Magpie Mischief in the process!
So tell us, how did you get started with Magpie Mischief?
Magpie Mischief was a business I started with my sister-in-law. We chose the name because we were always going after new shiny crafts and making all the time. I began by refurbishing furniture, creating recycled paper sculptures and collaged illustrations. My sister-in-law, Amy Selikoff created ornaments, garlands, and iPad covers from repurposed materials.
Eventually I was given a kiln by my great-aunt and all of that sculpture and illustration work I had done was thrown into my pottery. My sister-in-law also niched her work down to origami made from old Children’s books. We split the business apart at that point. I now run Magpie Mischief while she runs Respectable Raccoon.
You used to live in Florida, what inspired you to move out to Michigan instead? Have you found this has had much impact on your work?
I am actually originally from the midwest so I was definitely inspired by family to move back to Michigan.
The move has definitely slowed me down and allowed me to really hone my style of pottery. We are renovating the house we will be moving into (my grandpa’s house) and so since July, my studio is my parent’s garage/ basement and I’m constricted to a tiny 8x8 inch kiln while my art studio in my new home is being finished. I was worried that it would keep me from finishing anything—but quite the opposite. I have had more time to focus on the intricate drawings that I screen print onto my pottery.
MEET THE MAKER BEHIND MAGPIE MISCHIEF - ANNI CHRISTIE
How are you finding life in Michigan compares to Florida?
Its so much colder! Ha, actually I read an article a while back about someone who had moved away from Florida and she stated that she carried with her a sense of survival having had to survive hurricanes, crazy poisonous bugs and snakes and extreme heat. I think Michiganders similarly the same mentality of survival—except this time it is learning of how to survive if you drive into a snow bank in the middle of a blizzard and what to pack in preparation of such bad driving conditions.
I have a foot in both states. Michigan is my hometown that I grew up in and Florida is where I spent the last fifteen years. Floridians taught me about hospitality, how to make a killer cafe con leche and where to get the perfect key lime pie. Michiganders are full of people who really love nature—camping and hiking, education, and thoughtful art that tells a story.
Coming from the heat of Dubai to the cold of Canada I feel your pain! Although I would definitely take the snow over snakes any day!! What’s your favourite Magpie Mischief product and/or best seller?
My favorite product and bestseller is the Charlie Gnome Cone. I could make those little gnomes all day long and not get tired.
They were inspired an educational research trip to Finland with the school that I taught at in Florida. I walked into a holiday market in Helsinki and it was just a magical moment. I have always loved Christmas and this place was the epitome of everything Christmas. Everywhere I looked were these little knitted gnomes and they were just so darn adorable. When I came back from Finland I began designing my own ceramic version of the gnomes.
Can you tell us a bit more about the design and making process for your products?
I start with a drawing that I design on the iPad that I then turn into a silk screen. Then, I create my pottery either from slabs of clay or thrown on a wheel. After the clay has set long enough for me to handle, I use underglaze to print my drawings onto the pottery.
Press play below to see Anni's designs in progress.
View this post on Instagram
Drawing day! Ok, truth is I drag my iPad around everywhere and I’m drawing whenever I get a moment—car line, while I wait for dinner to cook in the instapot, etc. I design all the time. Even if I’m not working with clay. This drawing will then be turned into a silkscreen and printed on my pottery. #potterslife #pottersofinstagram #claystagram #illustration #illustrator #falldecorations #autumn #zbesties🍦 #renaechristine #handmade #mompreneur #smallbusiness #gritandgrace #pottery #falldays #carline #design #homedecor #fun #art #artist #makersmovement #magpiemischief #magpiemischiefshop #drawing #procreatedrawing #procreate #ipadart
What does a typical work day look like for you?
I do most of my pottery early mornings and late nights. I have a 1 1/2 year old and a five year old so not much gets done when they are awake. There are those beautiful moments when they both take naps at the same time but that doesn’t happen very often.
A lot of my social media posts are created in car lines when I am waiting to pick up my son from school.
I’d love to hear more about your home renovations! Can you tell us a bit about what projects you’re tackling and how it’s going?
At this point the entire house has undergone renovations. We found hardwood floors under the carpet, so those are getting refurbished soon. Almost all of the electric has been rewired to accommodate my two large kilns in the basement.
A lot of the house was completely gutted and redone. The staircase was even pulled out and turned around. I am lucky enough to have very creative and talented people in my family. My brother Phil is an architect and he really lead the design of an addition. My sister-in-law Samara is an interior designer who designed the overall look of my kitchen.
That's a great team to have on board! And I love that the rest of the house has to be rewired for the kilns - makers priorities!! How would you describe your interiors style?
The house is mid century style so I’m trying to create a modern mid century feel that isn’t quite as sterile and minimalistic as the original mid century modern look. I crave touches of boho accessories too much to go full blown mid century in my interior style.
I love furniture with pin legs and straight forward clean lines combined with pillows full of texture and pattern. So, is Mid-Century Boho a thing yet? I think it should be.
If it's not then I think it definitely should be! Where do you like to shop for interior decor items?
I really like shopping at local craft fairs to find unique statement pieces. I have found some original art at Goodwill that I love, but it’s not quite the same as meeting an artist, hearing their story and getting to know them and them bringing their designs into my home.
What’s next for Magpie Mischief?
I am starting to work with local boutiques to bring my pottery into small shops in the Grand Rapids area as well as collaborating with other handmade sellers to make some really special and unique art.
OLIVIA HOME SWEET HOME MAGNETS
You can also find all of the latest Magpie Mischief products in their shop, let me know which one is your favourite in the comments below.
A massive Ta Muchly to Anni for agreeing to be featured in this Travel Journal edition too!
All images copyright and courtesy of Magpie Mischief.
Note - This blog post is not sponsored, I'm just doing my bit to support fellow small businesses that I love! Help support them too by sharing this page with others! Ta Muchly!