Isabel Halley Ceramics
For most kindergarteners, Play-Doh is a phase. For master ceramicist Isabel Halley, it was the start of her professional career. “As a child growing up in Tribeca, I was always drawing and playing with Sculpey. I made everything with that stuff—toys, presents, Christmas tree ornaments,” she says. “I also always had Gak or Silly Putty with me and loved Sticky Tack; my hands always had to be occupied.”
Though Isabel took sculpture classes in high school and earned her undergrad degree from the School of Visual Arts, it wasn’t until 2010 that she really got back to her roots: Ceramics night classes unearthed a renewed interest that had her in the studio every day—and eventually teaching kiddies the art form at Manhattan Youth, in the ‘hood where she grew up. That’s right: full circle.
Her aesthetic has matured plenty—she’s creating gold-rimmed pinch pots, impossibly thin and pearly plates, and killer porcelain candlesticks. But it’s a certain not-too-serious vibe that makes her pieces so standout. “I use grown-up materials, but formally the pieces are a bit wonky,” Isabel explains. “They sit up straight, and though are never wobbly in their foundation, my lines—like the lips of bowls—are never straight.” Basically, they’re imperfect in a way that feels perfect to her. —alisha prakash
Behind The Scenes
Check Out Isabel Halley’s Very Favorite Ceramic Creations She’s kiln it.Isabel Halley is not big on sketchbooks these days. Instead, the top-notch ceramicist is all about prototyping. “I have made hundreds of vases, cups, mugs, and plates, but only about twenty-five of them are actually interesting and worth repeating,” she explains. Here, some of the incomprehensibly cool pieces that most definitely made the cut. —alisha prakash“For my chocolate-dipped vase and wine cups, I pinch very thin slabs of clay and then overlap them onto a form, usually a ... READ MORE »
Spend Some Time in Isabel Halley’s Awesome Upstate New York Studio It’s the stuff dreams are made of.In 2011, the hyper-talented ceramicist Isabel Halley set up shop in an old barn behind her mom’s house in Hillsdale, New York—yah, her little one-with-nature workshop is pretty much every artist’s dream. “It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter,” she says. “It’s exactly the same as being outside, without leaves or bugs falling on my head.” Heck, it’s even the perfect color. —alisha prakash“The barn was originally used for storage before I cleaned it out... READ MORE »