Where I am, Where I’m going // Tilly Troelstrup, potter

Tilly Troelstrup is a bad-ass chick. Yeah, she’s covered in tattoos and is so fit she could probably dominate in a fight against a jaguar, but that’s not the point. She’s also badass in that she creates beautiful pieces with intention. When she speaks about her work, you hear so much more than a description of a mug or logical reasoning behind why she added a design to the bottom of a plate–Tilly’s passion for creating pieces that will be loved and treasured is almost palpable.


tilly-2 On her space: 

I love this studio. It has a really special place in my heart and I know it’s going to for a long time. I share with another student. Sharing the space has been the best experience. There’s an open space nearby and we’ve both been offered to move, and we’re each kind of like, Eh, I’m ok.

I covered the doors with postcards from NCECA [National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts] and old students. I like being reminded of students that were here and people who I met from NCECA—having that inspires me and reminds me who came before me. And for other students, when they walk by, sometimes they’ll ask me, Who is this? And I tell them to take it off the wall and look at it.

tilly-3 tilly-5

On her work: 

Right now I’m focusing on plates and jars. I focused a lot on cups and bowls when I started out because I really liked the romance of cups. I work on the inside and the outside of cups. I don’t want to say that’s unique, because it’s not unheard of in the ceramics world, but people usually focus on the outside of cups–that’s something that set me apart a bit. I started working with jars last semester. Though they’re less romantic because you’re not putting your mouth to them, you do live with them in a different way, and it gives me a really good opportunity to work on the inside and the outside of the form.


On the romance of her work: 

The way we live with these items is romantic. It comes to our face, our lips touch it, our hands caress it. It’s romantic because you’re developing a relationship with the form in its use, whether you’re aware of it or not.  That’s also why I like putting things on the inside. If I’m serving you, you might not see whats inside if there’s liquid in it, so as you’re drinking, it is slowly revealing the design. I like toying with that relationship you develop, because if there’s a line going down inside of the cup and you’re drinking from it, you’re like, Oh, that’s fun it’s a straight line, but as you’re drinking it might twist or stop or become a dotted line.  And I like toying with that relationship.

tilly-6 tilly-3

On how people react to her work:

I was really struggling with getting my concept across to my users in critiques. What I have come to is that I don’t have something specific that I want you to experience. I draw my inspiration from what I’m calling ‘touch and go encounters.’ When I started my art I was trying to control it, and as I’ve worked with it, I learned that I kind of just need to learn who I am and let the work be. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the last couple years, and that’s affected my work. I realized I’m this outgoing, bubbly, introvert. It’s total opposites.

When I go to the grocery store and I’m in line, that’s my favorite experience. I love making jokes with whoever’s in front of me, or waving at the little baby and talking to the cashier. I draw inspiration from those encounters and the possible awkwardness or struggles that I experience. Sometimes people don’t want to laugh or don’t want to talk to an outgoing stranger or they don’t want to talk to a chick covered in tattoos. Sometimes I run into those brick walls.

For me, I’m drawing inspiration, and it means something specific to me, but once I put it out into the world, I don’t necessarily want my viewers to know exactly why I made this plate or what it means. I want it to be interesting enough that it draws them in and it means something for them. It might make them think of something, the color, the lines, or the curiosity. Letting that mean to them whatever that means. To some people they might just think it’s pretty. And that’s ok with me, as long as they use it. Because over time they will develop a relationship with it. Even if it’s just because the piece pretty and they’re excited to use it. It feels good and it makes them feel good when they use it.

In her senior year at Illinois State University, Tilly’s senior show is April 1st.  I won’t be able to attend, but I totally recommend it to anyone in the area!


365 Project // Days 50 – 56

Day 365 // www.thatsinglespark.com Day 50 // I’m really starting to think I would look better in black and white. Also day 50!

Day 365 // www.thatsinglespark.com Day 51 // You’re the pickin’ to my grinnin’ card, Tupelo Honey Cafe glass, Dangerous, poisonous coffee mug, dyeing spoons, a luminary, scarf/wall hanging, art calendar and some feminist lit—a few of my favorite things.

Day 365 // www.thatsinglespark.com Day 52 // Friday night fare.

Day 365 // www.thatsinglespark.com

Day 53 // Free Starbucks and sunshine. There is a God.

Day 365 // www.thatsinglespark.com

54 // Infinite ironing.

Day 365 // www.thatsinglespark.com

Day 55 // Scribbles at work. I discovered this quote last week: “And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” -Kahlil Gibran

Day 365 // www.thatsinglespark.com Day 56 // Treat yo self.

365 Project // Days 43-49

A day late, a dollar short. Sorry for being tardy to the 365 Project party, ya’ll. It doesn’t feel like I do much, but my days are always jam-packed and my to-do list never seems to get any shorter. I think time is playing a joke on me.

365 Project // www.thatsinglespark.com

Day 43 // Practicing spelling words.

365 Project // www.thatsinglespark.com

Day 44 // Valentines treats in the office.

365 Project // www.thatsinglespark.com

Day 45 // Forgive the horrible focus. But I loved this pattern… can you tell what the object is?
365 Project // www.thatsinglespark.com

Day 46 // Brunch à la Aunt Terry. Puff pancake, scrambled eggs, sausage and hash browns. I went full-on Leslie Knope.

365 Project // www.thatsinglespark.com

Day 47 // I want to start a series looking into empty bottles. The first one is here.

365 Project // www.thatsinglespark.com

Day 48 // Another day where I forgot to take a photo until 11:48 p.m. Reading Orange is the New Black on my Kindle before bed. It’s not as great as the show, just because of course the characters aren’t as insane and dramatic and wonderful, but still a good read.

365 Project // www.thatsinglespark.com Day 49 // I took a walk on my lunch break, and it was glorious.

20 Instagrammers you need to be following right now

20 Instagrammers You Need to Be Following Right Now // www.thatsinglespark.com The more I use it, the more I fall in love with Instagram. It seems that every day I find a new ‘grammer—or five—to follow, each posting more beautiful, enticing, luscious and surprising photos than the last. Here’s my list of the 20 best Instagrammers to be following right now.

20 Instagrammers You Need to Be Follow Right Now // www.thatsinglespark.com Travel & Nature // Brenton Clark // Pete Halvorsen // Zak Shelhamer // Our Wild Abandon

20 Instagrammers You Need to Be Follow Right Now // www.thatsinglespark.com Lifestyle // Teklan // Emilie Ristevski // Sarah Palmer //Beci Orpin

20 Instagrammers You Need to Be Follow Right Now // www.thatsinglespark.com Photojournalism // Koci Hernandez // Michael Christopher Brown // Marcus Bleasdale // Amy Toensing

20 Instagrammers You Need to Be Follow Right Now // www.thatsinglespark.com Art // Sean Tulgetske // Paul Octavious // Jose Parla // JR

20 Instagrammers You Need to Be Following Right Now // www.thatsinglespark.com Companies & Brands // Sharpie // The Confetti Bar // Oreo // Maersk Line

Are you as obsessed with Instagram as I? What are your favorite editing apps? If you’re still craving more grams, you can follow me at @BlaiseHS.

Heart attacks.

Easy washi-tape Valentine Easy washi-tape Valentine Happy love day, sweet-as-stevia sugar pies.

I’m feeling over the moon today, blissfully surrounded by cookies, cards and cartoon hearts spinning in circles around my head, as if I knocked my cranium on cupid’s buns of steel.

I’ve got love to spread, so I’ll keep it short and saccharine.

I went low-key with my Valentines this year. Very low-key. I only made a handful. Target supplied the rest. And I’m using the word ‘made’ loosely. If I couldn’t draw it with a black ink pen or make a shape with a piece of washi tape, I didn’t make it. I’ve been busy.

I’m headed out-of-town for a relaxing weekend. Au revoir, amoureux.