Ceramics Artist Pours Into Blue Ridge Art Scene With Overflow Studios

Pottery is a handmade art form I have high appreciation for, mostly because it takes great patience and skill to design dish-ware that's not just pleasing to the eye, but practical for everyday use. Melina LeVecchia Daniels, illustrator and ceramics artist, opened Overflow Studios with her husband Jacob in their hometown of Boone, NC. In this interview, Melina shares insight about the fine arts community in the Blue Ridge Mountains, go-to stops in Boone, NC, and the mission behind her dreamy tableware! 

What led you and your husband to opening your own studio?

It developed over time. We bought a ceramic studio in 2012, when I was still finishing college. We found an incredible deal on Craigslist and couldn't pass it up. In 2013, Jacob sold his largest painting yet and we were able to buy a Cannon Fine Art Giclee printer, that we use in our printing studio (we photograph and reproduce our own work and other artist's. Jacob has always been into wood working (he made 40 barn wood tables for our wedding!) so our wood shop is from acquiring pieces over time. So we own and operate 3 different studios across the Blue Ridge Mountains!

You talk about finding "fullness that can only be measured by your overflow". How does this concept play into your role as a small business owner?

We were inspired by a sermon we heard from an incredible public speaker/pastor from Harvest House Church, that first stated "your fullness can only be measured by your overflow"... essentially, never allowing your cup to run dry but that you can only give out of what overflows from that cup; We took that to heart and don't think we can create without being completely full to the brim with mind, body, spirit wholeness. It also relates to our daily lives, how we interact with ourselves and others. When it comes to business, we really can't give into our business if we are overrun in our personal lives or we feel like we're in a creative-dry-spell... So this is a good reminder to us to constantly live from a place of fullness, it helps to keep us from burning out.

How did your parents influence your creative spirit?

My parents met at a culinary arts institute, therefore I grew up watching them use the kitchen as a studio for creatively exploring in food and fine cuisine. My mother is also a designer so everything from the way she set the table to decorating our house to her wardrobe has played an influence on my ceramics.

Favorite traditional meal or dish you grew up with?

My parents took family dinners to the next level... My father grew up in a very traditional, Italian-home where you ate together every night... That never changed in our house, so each holiday, Sunday and birthday we made an extra-ordinary excuse to create an incredible meal. My favorite was my birthday meal, King Crab legs and slow roasted artichoke with herbal-infused butters.

How do you choose the quotes or themes for your work?

Seasonally. I work with a lot of influence from nature, lots of floral and fauna themes in the summer... And wintry dried herbs, pine trees and found objects in the winter. My illustrations show up a lot in my ceramics pieces, specifically plates and mugs.

Describe Lina Lav in one word.

Fresh.

Did you always know you wanted to start your own creative business?

I knew I wanted to live a creative lifestyle, but it wasn't until I watched one my friends teach an art class in 2010 that inspired me to pursue art full force. I also received a teaching certificate in art, but spend most of my time managing the studios (and my now 4 month old!),

Can you tell me about the 93 Mugs of Summer project? Any new collections for the upcoming fall/winter seasons?

I started a personal project called the 93 Mugs of Summer, (you can find them on instagram with #93mugsofsummer). I wanted to explore new techniques, forms and surfaces throughout the summer and sell the mugs at a very low price for my customers to purchase one of a kind pieces. This project was created in order to discover new ideas that people love and want more of.  This winter I'm working to come out with another Black Silk Road series; black matte mugs with real 22k gold illustrations on them. You can also find that series on my website.

What are a couple of your favorite local spots in Boone?

Kindly Kitchen is this fantastic vegan bar, you fill up on over a pound of incredible local produce and GF foods. Juice Boone is a new cold-pressed juice bar and the signature watering-hole for Boone, Espresso News (coffee shop).

Best part about being involved in your local business community?

Making a richer community! I've lived here for 7 years, and to continually see new artists create a space for themselves, as well as, established artists grow their business bigger is very rewarding. I've also been on the founding team for Artisan Market Boone, a new curated, handmade market that is now featuring artisans from across the region and surrounding states. It's a luxury to live in a small town where the possibilities are still endless and you are a part of a culture that is constantly growing and creating something new to share with the local community. 

Follow Ceramics By Lina Lav on Instagram

.