Colorful ceramics are a great way to brighten up any home and add a dash of panache. And thanks to the art collective 3 Girls and a Kiln, an array of locally made ceramics can be purchased on-island.
The trio – Claire Rohleder, Aimee Randolph and Deborah Richey – have come together to turn their passion for pottery into a small business.
They can be found at the Farmers & Artisans Market in Camana Bay every second Wednesday, where the girls’ bright and original artworks are on display at their stall.
Their pieces are also sold at The Cabana, Lilly Pulitzer store; Celebrations; the National Gallery shop; Visual Art Society sales in Grand Cayman; and the 3 Girls and a Kiln Etsy page online.
Both Aimee and Deborah teach art at John Gray High School while Claire is a designer with Acorn Publishing,
The three came together to make their creations in clay after meeting at a friend’s house and then joining the Visual Art Society.
Their ceramic pieces include mobiles, hanging ornaments, bowls, birdhouses, plates and pitchers made from earthenware clay and glazed in different colors.
Zentangle designs feature in their work, a form of controlled doodling that lends itself well to ceramics.
They also make upcycled items from materials sourced in thrift stores which are hand-designed and hand-sewn, with no two ever being alike.
“We all do different ceramic patterns and specialize in different hand-built items that are all best sellers in their own right,” says Claire. “We also all have a hand in upcycling items. While the owls are a tag-team effort using only vintage or found fabric on Cayman, we all have different projects we specialize in.
“The corks in the rose wine corks are all donated from liquor stores and restaurants on island (and we’re always looking for more), the bird houses are made from license plates, the sea glass Christmas angels are all made from sea glass found on the beach… and new for Christmas 2015 we’ll have Caymanite wine charms. Very exciting.”
Many of the patterns are designed with Cayman in mind, as the girls are inspired by their island surroundings.
“The sea grape pattern and coral pattern are both taken from nature while Deborah’s zentangle patterns in blues and greens are inspired by the lush colors of the Caribbean sea,” says Claire. “Our ‘Cayman problems’ line is a tongue-in-cheek joke about the local chicken ‘problem’ and all our nautical-theme goods are not only inspired by the nature of Cayman but also the people.”
The girls don’t yet have a dedicated studio, currently working from each of their homes but in future hope to have both a studio and a store in which to sell their work.
“We all have such different styles that it’s difficult to tag it with one word,” Claire says. “Deb’s zentangled work is so intricate and crisp that the creativity and skilled drawing-style shines through on each piece. Aimee is great at identifying design trends and implementing them into her work. The coral plates, bowls and tags are one of our best-sellers and show off her delicate hand and attention to detail.
“My background in design is quite prevalent in my work, from the graphic feel of the chicken on my Cayman Problems collection to the varied use of fonts and type.”
The 3 Girls and a Kiln best-sellers vary from online sales to in-person and market sales, with cheese stakes and roses probably the most frequently bought items bought on the Internet.
At the market stalls, the Cayman zentangled hearts, zentangled prints, anything coral, and ring dishes are all popular purchases.
“As far as patterns and designs go, I think it’s safe to say that starfish are definitely ‘in’ – we can barely keep our screen-printed and hand-painted starfish products in stock,” says Claire.
The girls also work to commission and include trophies designed for the Off The Beaten Track race fund-raiser held annually in Cayman.
They also designed favors for a wedding in the U.S. – their first international commission.
“Some past favorite projects have ranged from pressed bird houses made with a Montreal license plate, to a Father’s Day ‘good morning daddy’ bowl for a brand new daddy,” says Claire. “Our to-go mugs actually started as a commissioned piece, and due to popular demand, we now keep them in stock.”
The girls spend as much spare time as they can working on their colorful ceramic creations.
“We just keep growing, keep getting busier and keep thinking how did we get so lucky to do what we love everyday?” says Claire.
“ The trio – Claire Rohleder, Aimee Randolph and Deborah Richey – have come together to turn their passion for pottery into a small business.”