Our expansion of the Ukulele store, featuring awesome products sourced from artisans around the world, is continuing and we are so excited to share our latest find with you. Today, help us welcome a unique addition to the store: the Cthulhu Tiki Mug! We were mesmerized by this mug — the amount of detail, the composition– and we loved meeting the potter behind the scenes, Chris of Shima Pottery. Read our Q & A with the very talented maker to learn more about the product and his story. Then, head over to the Ukulele store to get your very own mug today!
Q & A with Shima Pottery
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself; how did you get started on your artistic journey?
A: L.A. County High School for the Arts was an amazing place that helped me find my passion for sculpture. Henry Takemoto taught ceramics there, and I took his class every semester; it was always the highlight of my day. In college, at U.C. Santa Barbara, I split my time between sculpture and painting. The environment there was perfect for me; they encouraged creativity and gave us free reign. Grad school at Art Center in Pasadena was a nasty shock for me though — stifling and excessively cerebral — it was like, “you painted this? Well you better be able to relate it to your Foucault and Derrida readings!” I dropped out, traipsed around LA for a while, and moved to Brooklyn. I avoided the Fine Art world but never stopped making things. After trying my hand at furry lounge furniture, I went back to sculpture and learned the fine art of table-waiting. I eventually moved back to California and worked as an apprentice at Jered’s Pottery in Richmond for a couple of years. In 2015 I started Shima Pottery.
Q: What inspires your creativity? Any particular artists you admire?
A: I’m most excited by art that is colorful, flamboyant, irreverent, playful, smart and humorous. Takashi Murakami is my hero; I love his “Second Mission Project ko2” and “My Lonesome Cowboy” sculptures in particular. Some other favorite artists are Lari Pittman, William Wegman, Nicola Hicks, David Goines, Andy Goldsworthy, Peter Voulkos, my sister Katie Shima…I could keep going. And H.P. Lovecraft’s writing is inspirational to me too, as you can see in the Cthulhu tiki mug.
Q: Do you play an instrument? What music and musicians brighten your day?
A: I’m terrible with instruments, unless you count Rockband, the video game, which you shouldn’t. My taste in music leaves something to be desired as well. Some of my favorite groups are Screeching Weasel, Nomeansno, Geto Boys, Die Antwoord, Belle and Sebastian, and Gang Starr. I listen to almost anything though.
Q: What makes your shop and designs unique and special?
A: I’m hoping that my background in sculpture will bring something special to my functional ceramics. I make other pottery, but sculpting tiki mugs brings me the most joy. I’m working on several new pieces right now that I hope to announce soon.
Q: Did we miss anything you’d like to mention?
A: I love my other job, bartending at the Bull Valley Roadhouse. I live in Port Costa with my amazing partner Ashleigh, my ridiculously cute 3 year-old daughter Lucy, and 3 very bad but adorable dogs.
We are so excited to have Shima Pottery as a part of our Ukulele collection. Chris’ mugs and style are so unique and beautiful that we hope you will take some time to view his mug over in our store!