How to Live Like an Artist, According to Ceramicist Helen Levi (Hint: You’re Gonna Need Snacks)
If you fantasize about trading in your cubicle for a former-warehouse artist’s studio flooded with light, filled with plants, where snacks flow freely—then you’ll probably think Brooklyn-based ceramicist Helen Levi‘s life is pretty dreamy. We asked Helen to walk us through her daily routine and tell us about her beautiful studio. It didn’t disappoint.
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Don’t think you’ll get to live that artist life? Just follow Helen’s gorgeous Instagram account to live vicariously.
AT: Early bird or night owl?
HL: Hmm, neither. Afternoon owl, is that a thing? I typically get to the studio around 10:30 am. I’d say my natural body clock wakes me up around 8 or 8:30 am, but I always set an alarm. My dog Billy likes to sleep in, so he’s definitely not waking me up. [Billy is the adorable cattle dog with white and brown spots below!]
AT: What’s your morning routine like? Breakfast: yay or nay?
HL: I have to have a big cup of tea—no coffee for me. I like strong black tea with milk and honey. I always heat up the milk first, otherwise it gets cold really fast. Sometimes I wait and have yogurt and stuff at the studio, but I always eat breakfast.
AT: Do you have a work uniform?
HL: I wear overalls [evidence, above], or I have two designated pairs of work pants. My work is so messy, I try to keep two separate wardrobes for work and my personal life. I used to mix more, but then I started to feel schlubby.
AT: How do you ease into the workday? What tasks do you like to start with?
HL: I typically wait to throw in the afternoon. A lot of people think I just sit at the wheel for 10 hours a day, but there are a lot of other steps. In the morning, I typically put handles on the pieces I threw the day before, or write emails, or do some glazing.
AT: And what’s for lunch?
HL: Fairway salads! They have this salad bar that’s so cheap, there’s no way they’re making any money off of it.
AT: You mentioned that you have your own studio now—how do you like it?
HL: I used to share space with Chen Chen and Kai Williams for two years and loved it, but I moved out into my own space in March. It’s pretty dreamy! I miss having lunch with them; we work with different mediums, but they’ve given me so much advice about running a small business. In the old studio, I had to do one task at a time, now I can have stations and I don’t have to clean up after myself—I’m pretty messy when I work.
AT: What about studio snacks?
HL: I’m very snacky! Pretzels, cheese and crackers (I have a little fridge at the studio), and peanut chews. I bought a big 11-pound bag of peanut chews on Amazon. Everyone who comes in the studio gets one, and because it’s peanuts, I feel like it’s healthy—it’s protein, right?
AT: What do you like to decorate with, besides your own beautiful ceramics, of course?
HL: Tons of plants! I’m very into having potted plants around. I also hung up cafe lights in the studio, which makes the space feel warmer, especially as it’s been getting darker earlier, it’s nice to have that glow.
AT: Where do you go for inspiration?
HL: I love going to the beach any time of year, especially in the winter when no one’s there. I used to think it was because of the dog. I would probably never come to the beach in the morning before work if I didn’t have a dog. I didn’t immediately see it as inspiration, but then I realized that the landscape was influencing my work.
Thanks, Helen! Shop her gorgeous ceramic pieces here.