<
>

Marin

Skinny Ceramics

SKINNY is a creative studio founded by Susan McKinney, a contemporary ceramic artist and industrial designer. The studio is a place to explore clay’s materiality, connecting Susan’s passion for inventive design with natural materials. Today, her ceramic work is known for its expressive, organic forms and uniquely woven style.

Constantly in motion, she is in a playful search for sustaining beauty. Her work seeks to connect people to the wonders of the natural world. Based in Marin, California, her handmade collections range from sculptural to functional objects, giving space for nature and creativity around the home.

SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES

Materials & Ingredients
I use four different clay bodies from either Laguna or Aardvark – Speckled Buff, Cassius Basaltic, B-mix, Raku Sculpture clay, and fire to Cone 06 for bisque, Cone 5 for glaze. My preferred method of finishing is to fire the clay unglazed, to highlight the natural texture of the material and process. I have a small range of underglazes, mason stains, and glazes that I regularly use as well.

Packaging & Delivery
Starch peanuts, bubble wrap, cardboard boxes. USPS for shipping, or free local pick up.

Quality & Value
There is not really a standard of “perfection”. My work is meant to embrace the imperfect, organic nature of clay, transcending seasons and time. It’s ceramic so it can of course break, but if you take care of it, it will last forever.


My woven pieces actually use a very economical amount of clay. I like the challenge of using as little clay as possible to create something that feels full and voluminous. Additionally, during the clay recycling/reclaiming process I mix in colorful stains, to give new life to old clay scraps.

Local Supply Chains
Clay People in Richmond is one of the last remaining ceramic supply shops in the Bay Area. I buy 90% of my supplies and equipment through them. They are a wonderful resource!

Energy Efficiency
I draw inspiration from weaving and other ancient craft techniques, which aren’t exactly energy efficient… but there is wisdom there I think we can all learn from. Weaving asks us to seek nature, to slow down, to make things we need, but in a way our earth can sustain. With my experience as an industrial designer, I’ve spent a lot of time designing products for mass production. With that, you inevitably design for efficiency, repeatability, cost targets, and fast schedules. All that effort and modern technology for a product to often times last only 2 years. It drove me to wanting to create objects that would last multiple lifetimes! My goal is to take the wisdom of the past and combine it with my hopes for the future – to live with and create fewer, better things.

Inspiration
Joy is an essential part of my process. I think that translates through the work, and ultimately to the person viewing it. Putting a smile on people’s face – when they realize the work is ceramic and not leather or fabric – is what motivates me to keep creating. Now more than ever it is important to inspire joy and optimism in others through art.

Goals & Aspirations
I would ultimately love to get away from using bubble wrap for shipping.

ADDITIONAL READING LINKS

What Ten Years Can Do: Patterns of Artistic Success

Oakland

Timepieces

Bespoke Watch Projects

San Francisco

Shoes

Bryr Studio

San Francisco

Clothing

Camelia Skikos

Berkeley

Clothing

Harvest & Mill

Oakland

Furniture

Jason Lees Design

Berkeley

Art

Lutz Art Design

Oakland

Jewelry

Maral Rapp

Oakland

Jewelry

MGG Studio

Oakland

Garden

Orta Kitchen Garden

San Francisco

Jewelry

Stella Fluorescent

Berkeley

Furniture

The Long Confidence

Oakland

Body & Bath

Earth Tu Face

San Francisco

Furniture

Lahoma

San Francisco

Ceramics

Lisa Fleming Ceramics

San Francisco

Bags

Mafia Bags

Oakland

Furniture

Model No.

Oakland

Furniture

Munson Furniture

San Rafael

Clothing & Decor

Rough Linen

Marin

Ceramics

Skinny Ceramics

Napa

Clothing

Yolotli

Alameda

Malt

Admiral Maltings

Alameda

Concrete Design & Fabrication

Concreteworks

Oakland

Art, Décor, Lighting

Elliptic Designs

San Francisco

Garden Design & Fabrication

Habitat Horticulture

Sausalito

Art & Design

TKID

San Francisco

Clothing

Amy Kuschel

San Francisco

Body & Bath

Etta + Billie

San Francisco, Sausalito

Ceramics

Heath Ceramics

Oakland

Plant-Based Meat

Impossible Foods

Vallejo

Bags & Home Goods

Oxgut Hose Co.

San Francisco

Culinary Totes

Aplat

Marin

Dressings

Farmhouse Lab

San Francisco

Body & Bath

Heliotrope San Francisco

San Francisco

Totes & Housewares

Millie Lottie

San Francisco

Furniture

Fyrn

Oakland

Textile Goods

GDS Cloth Goods

Mountain View

Art & Textiles

Krupa Paranjape

Oakland

Clothing

Lacson Ravello

Oakland

Art & Design

Leora Lutz