October 24, 2016
“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak” – Rachel Zoe
If her pottery line Servitude precedes meeting Amanda Wright one may expect a bold, brazen even domineering women; what you find and might be surprised by is her hushed and reserved thoughtfulness. Amanda Wright, mother of three based in Napa Valley, may be soft-spoken and genteel but her expanding line – a new pendant collection, has something bold to say. Her unique aesthetic style characterized by matte-black, natural white, and gold accents shows vestiges of her former career in fashion and costume design for television and film. Her objects are “essentially the dress forms and the accents are the outfits or accessories.” At Jay Jeffers – The Store her collection is viewed as staples (vases, bowls, trays) that make statements. Amanda stepped away from her potter’s wheel for our Spotlight interview.
JJ: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
AW: I have really bad insomnia and end up watching prison shows on my computer until 1 am!
JJ: What inspired you to leave fashion design for the art of pottery?
AW: As a freshman in college, I took a beginning throwing class and knew that someday I would end up making ceramic art. The opportunity presented itself after I was already out of the fashion industry when my children took a pottery class at a local art center. I stayed at their first class with them and haven’t put down the clay since!
JJ: What’s integral to the work of an artist?
AW: Vision, work ethic, totally loving the process!
JJ: Favorite or most inspirational place and why?
AW: Home! With clay and a sketchbook and the people I love.
JJ: How is your personality reflected in your work?
AW: Like myself, my pieces usually begin with a very traditional form and are given a sense of modernity through unexpected (and sometimes humorous!) details.
JJ: Which song best describes your work ethic?
AW: “Going the Distance” by Cake. I think the song is about having a borderline obsessive work ethic. The race car driver in the song keeps racing around the track to see if he can beat his own time long after the race is over. It is about an internal drive that keeps charging through failures and victories.
JJ: What wouldn’t you do without?
AW: Sugar and my wheel!
JJ: From all your pieces which is your favorite and why?
AW: I love the black sphere with gold spikes. It is beautifully aggressive.
JJ: Based in Napa Valley, what’s been the most surprising or memorable response you have had to your work?
AW: I am constantly shocked by the tremendous amount of support I receive from my community. I have people stopping by my studio all the time to shop and offer words of encouragement. I was lucky enough to meet Michael and you through the word of mouth of a neighbor!
JJ: What would you say are your main influences when conceiving a piece of work?
AW: I usually look to fringe groups of society whose contributions to the world of fashion and/or art are overlooked or even looked down upon. I like to elevate the main design concepts and make them appealing to mainstream society.
JJ: You’re a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why?
AW: I would be Liquid Smokey Gold. Everywhere I leave my mark will exude mystery and luster.
JJ: What’s been the best piece of advice you have been given?
AW: Buy the best equipment you can afford. “Cheaping out” will cost more in the long run.
JJ: It has to be asked, considering the aesthetic of Servitude have you ever had a Ghost moment at the potter’s wheel?
AW: Ha ha! So many people ask me that…