Victoria Morris

Created in collaboration with Victoria Morris, this ceramics collection was inspired by the pared-back minimalism of the Richard Neutra showroom. Morris is a master ceramicist based in Los Angeles, California.

Victoria Morris - CO

CO is pleased to introduce our conversation series with Victoria Morris, a Los Angeles-based ceramicist and CO collaborator. Inspired by minute details of everyday life, her rich connection to nature, and a deep relationship to space and environment, Victoria's work is an exploration on pared-back elegance. As a practicing potter since her teenage years, Victoria shares more about the way her work has evolved over time, her artistic influences, and the inspiration behind the collection she's created for CO.

Victoria Morris - CO

CO is pleased to introduce our conversation series with Victoria Morris, a Los Angeles-based ceramicist and CO collaborator. Inspired by minute details of everyday life, her rich connection to nature, and a deep relationship to space and environment, Victoria's work is an exploration on pared-back elegance. As a practicing potter since her teenage years, Victoria shares more about the way her work has evolved over time, her artistic influences, and the inspiration behind the collection she's created for CO.

Victoria Morris - CO Victoria Morris - CO Victoria Morris - CO
Victoria Morris - CO Victoria Morris - CO Victoria Morris - CO

CO: Tell us a little bit about your practice. When did you start making pottery and what are some of the inspiration points for your work?

Victoria Morris: I enrolled in my first pottery class in high school. I took to it immediately and enrolled in a supplemental night class for adults at a nearby community studio. From that point on, it's always been in my life to some extent. I never imagined this “hobby” would become the center of my life.

From the start, I tried to make really pared-down, precise forms. It's taken a lot of time and practice to get there. After more than 30 years of working in clay, I feel like I finally have the control it takes to make the pieces I've always wanted to make. There are so many tiny decisions that go into a form—push out here, squeeze in there, pull taller, when to put in a curve, a straight edge—and they happen all at the same time while you're minding a spinning piece of clay that wants to pull off center, twist, collapse or just quit. Don't get me wrong, there's so much more to learn and master, but I'm proud of where I am and of the work I'm producing.

I believe that simplicity, whether it be in design, fashion, architecture, cooking, and of course pottery, is difficult to do well, but when well executed it's the key element to the most beautiful outcomes.

Inspiration flows from different places at different times, however Lucie Rie, Otto and Gertrude Natzler, The Bauhaus, Japanese ceramics, and of course Mid-Century design and architecture have all been points of direction for me.

Victoria Morris - CO
Victoria Morris - CO

CO: Can you talk a little bit about the pieces you've made for CO? What was the starting point for this collaboration?

VM: So much of this collection comes from my impressions after a visit to the CO showroom designed by Richard Neutra. I wanted to make work that echoed the space and the design sensibilities of CO—classic and authentic. I felt this was an opportunity to experiment with scale, texture, and form; and to push myself as a potter and focus on making super classic, refined forms. I also used glazes that have more unexpected outcomes. Each piece is unique and one of a kind.

CO: What is your personal approach to getting ready? Is it methodical or more organic?

VM: Oh I'm very “organic” about it. It would be a waste to put too much effort into getting ready in my day-to-day life now that I'm a full-time potter. One drawback of working in clay is that I'm always, always, dirty.

CO: I noticed you were drawn to our denim—very utilitarian! Do you have a studio uniform, of sorts, or is it more of a reflection on your overall personal style?

VM: I've always had really understated style. In the studio that translates to a lot of denim, cropped work pants, plain T shirts, and a pair of white Vans. (All extremely washable!) When I'm not in the studio, I gravitate toward well made, timeless pieces. I want to look effortlessly chic, like I just threw these things on without too much fuss. Sometimes that's true and of course sometimes it's way more work.

Victoria Morris - CO
Victoria Morris - CO

CO: I know we've talked about the artists and movements that inspire your practice, but who are some of your favorite artists? Do you have a favorite work of art?

VM: Oh this is nearly impossible to answer and shifts all the time. Big surprise, I tend to gravitate toward really subtle work. Agnes Martin, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Morris Louis, Helen Frankenthaler are a few names that come to mind. In different ways, each of these artists focus on something elemental that's also profoundly beautiful and simple (simple looking, not simple to achieve!)

CO: Where do you look to outside of ceramics and art for inspiration?

VM: I notice small details everywhere—the interesting pattern on a rock at the beach, the ribbed texture on a leather chair, a curve in a beautiful font, the lovely silhouette of my cat against a wall. Weird little details just creep in to view and some end up in my work.

Additionally, I know I get a lot of inspiration from being outside and also being away from my daily routine at the studio. If I'm here all the time, I burn out. Travel and outdoor activities (surfing, biking, hiking) really restore me and I come back ready to make work again.

Victoria Morris - CO

CO: How does physical space and environment shape your work? Your studio is in Altadena, a part of Los Angeles that is slightly removed from the bustling city and more rooted in nature—has your practice shifted as you've moved throughout Los Angeles?

VM: Physical space has such an impact on my work. This studio has beautiful light, old windows, high ceilings and wood floors. There's something that feels very positive and comfortable about being here. For the first time in my years of practice I have more space and light than ever before, and it has for sure impacted my work. I've really expanded in the last few years in many way—not just volume, but my skill set and focus have changed.

After spending most of my adult life living in the Hollywood Hills, moving to Altadena felt like I'd moved to a quaint small town. I love that I can bike to my studio, that I can walk to trailheads, and that generally it's the the wild peacocks and parrots who are making noise rather than sirens or helicopters. Living here and having a studio so close has shifted my work primarily because I'm able to be more focused, which in turn makes the work more focused and refined as well.

This studio has also impacted my work—it's got great light, old windows, high ceilings and more space than I've ever had to myself before. I feel like I've expanded a lot since moving here—I'm less rushed, have more time to practice, and a little more time to play, too. While it sounds small, I think it's actually a radical shift for someone like me who is always going going going.

Victoria Morris - CO
Victoria Morris - CO