While Maryam Riazi studied fashion design and has worked as a design consultant and stylist, it is her interest in objects that has set her on a new path. Born in Iran, and raised in the city of Shiraz - known for its “poets, philosophers and earthy souls” - she is now based in Los Angeles were she is gaining a following for her ceramics, as well as her jewellery and thread work. “I have always found clay to be so fascinating,” says Maryam, who enjoys everything about it from the permeability of the soft clay to the concrete, durable finished object. She also enjoys the fact that its placement has many possibilities too. “Ceramics can be functional or sculptural, hung or placed on a table; they can be used in the kitchen or in the office - this possibility keeps my creativity working nonstop,” she says.
Which five words best describe you? Passionate, humble, curious, explorer, kind.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I come from a culture that preaches doing what you need to do - not what you like to do. I’ve worked in several different fields but never did something I truly enjoyed. Ceramics was the only thing I did purely because I loved it. It’s amazing how doing something you enjoy and nurturing it passionately can only turn it into a something better. It sounds trite but if you listen to your heart it will tell you what path to take next. It all becomes very clear.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Life happens when you step out of your comfort zone. I’m constantly challenged to do this and it has been a great learning experience. I’ve also realised that as an artist you must take the power of social media very seriously. It’s simply astounding how people from all around the world can see and connect with your work through various online mediums. I think we’re very lucky to have this opportunity and should take advantage of it. I get emails from people in Europe, Australia, Africa and the Middle East who are interested in what I do.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Ceramics is still a relatively new practice for me, but the fact that I am where I am makes me proud. I do what I love and have surrounded myself with people and things that bring me joy. Also, I’m so fortunate to be able to donate a major portion of my sales to animal charities and that in itself is my proudest achievement.
What’s been your best decision? For me, using social media as my portfolio to showcase my work was the best thing I did. It has connected me with so many amazing people that continue to inspire, support, and sustain my creative practice.
Who inspires you? Strong yet humble people, especially women. And, of course, the work of great artists such as Lucie Rie, Deirdre McLoughlin, Ernst Rottger, Mori Togaku, Mina Perhonen and Reza Abedini.
What are you passionate about? Learning, growth, change…
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Oh, boy. I have so many. But if I could choose I’d love to chill with Bob Marley... and watch Lucie Rie throw.
What dream do you still want to fulfill? I want to be the clay wizard lady and learn everything there is about clay.
What are you reading? Does anyone read anymore?! Seriously, I’ve been meaning to join a book club just to make time to read. I miss doing that. I love biographies and have a stack of books by my bed waiting to be read. Last one I read was on Iggy Pop. Loved it.
images courtesy of maryam riazi