Studio Tour

Meet the Makers || Romy and Clare

One of the goals of our blog is to take you behind the scenes, to let you meet the talented people behind the shops on Etsy. Along with our Studio Tours, we also have our Meet the Makers series. Here we ask artists about how they got their start and how they ended up opening an online shop.  We hope you enjoy!

The Makers: Romy Kissel and Clare Backer Bies

The Shop: Romy and Clare

Location: Jasper, Indiana

Get in touch: Facebook and website

The Studio in rural Jasper, Indiana.

The Studio in rural Jasper, Indiana.

When and why did you choose to open an online shop on Etsy?

We opened our etsy shop in 2008 with a few items and a year or so later really started becoming active. We had our own website in 2008, but we were looking to expand our online presence and business. It looked like a fairly easy tool to use and could see that it was a good venue for artists and a good fit for us. Now we use etsy as our dedicated online shop.

Clare on the left, Romy on the right

Clare on the left, Romy on the right

Clare adding a hot tile to raku pit.

Clare adding a hot tile to raku pit.

What got you started in your craft?

Our moms were friends so we grew up together. Clare's mom is artistic and a great advocate of the arts. Romy’s mom, Nancy, is an artist, so she would set us up with art projects in their garage. She always had a lot of art supplies for inspiration. We both have early memories of making clay pinch pots into animals.
Also, at our local high school, we were inspired by our art teacher, Tom Schum, a clay artist, who introduced us to clay and the raku process. He is now retired from teaching but is still working in clay.

Ornaments in clay ready to dry before the first firing.

Ornaments in clay ready to dry before the first firing.

At work in the studio prior to recent renovations. Cats, Trixie and Max, may they rest in peace, at our sides.

At work in the studio prior to recent renovations. Cats, Trixie and Max, may they rest in peace, at our sides.

Ornaments still hot in kiln prior to raku firing.

Ornaments still hot in kiln prior to raku firing.

Who or what influences your style the most?

As we work, we are surrounded by nature. Our studio sits in the midst of the corn and soybean fields of rural Indiana. Our favorite times of the year are those when we can open the doors and windows and hear the birds sing. So we are inspired daily by nature, flowers, birds, etc. We also are fascinated by textile patterns, colors, and textures. Travel influences us as well, whether it is local or international or through our internet journeys.

Clare grouting a mosaic tile.

Clare grouting a mosaic tile.

Tiles in raku fire.

Tiles in raku fire.

Clare on the left (in red) and Romy on the right ( in green) in the midst of rearranging and set up of  the renovated studio space in preparation for their Open Studio Sale in December 2013.

Clare on the left (in red) and Romy on the right ( in green) in the midst of rearranging and set up of  the renovated studio space in preparation for their Open Studio Sale in December 2013.

Romy and Clare with customers at their Open Studio Sale.

Romy and Clare with customers at their Open Studio Sale.

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A big thanks to Romy, Clare and Carolyn for sharing their story with us!

Don't you just love their studio? Such a fun and happy place to create + work.

Join us next month for another journey behind the scenes with creative makers.


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