Los Altos Hills
My name is Maija Lähdesmäki. I make ceramic tableware that people can use and enjoy every day. I believe that objects that surround you contribute to your well-being. I want to share stories through my functional art reflecting my inspiration sources of nature, Scandinavian aesthetics, and clay itself as earthy material. I named my brand Blue Plate since I always think how I would present food on my plates.
I work in my studio located in my backyard. It’s a refurbished 8×16 ft shipping container, and has a potter’s wheel, wedging area, a sink, and shelves for ceramic work. I currently mostly fire my pieces in a community kiln in the Bay Area.
I’m a small batch potter, I make pieces according to seasonal changes, my energy and inspiration. I try to keep my work personal, distinct, but also playful. I occasionally also make tableware to order, and on commission. My work is dishwasher safe, and durable – they can last for decades and even hundreds of years.
I use machines and tools that were invented thousands of years ago, to create work for the modern world. The wheel was used in potter’s wheel before its use in vehicles. I recently immersed myself to centuries old Korean onggi method and will be incorporating that into my work. I use both electric and gas kiln for firing.
Most of the clay I use is manufactured in California. I’m also learning how to use more local, natural materials in my ceramic work. All the materials used in clay and glazes come from earth. I recycle all my clay trimmings. Clay and glazes contain several minerals, and most of them are non-toxic. As a maker I need to be aware of the toxic ones as well as silica that is airborne in dry clay dust and to protect myself. I keep my workspace clean and wear respiratory protection when mixing dry ingredients or sanding work, and gloves when mixing glaze ingredients like oxides and ash. However, the fired ceramic pieces are completely non-toxic for customers.