Meet Blair Greiner, art teacher turned entrepreneur and the creative talent behind the beloved Newtown Studio where she designs and sells handmade art and pottery.
How did you become interested in pottery?
I am a lifelong creative. I knew as a little girl, taking art classes at the Newtown Community Center. I took art camps there and a woman also had ceramic painting classes in the basement there - I still have almost every piece I made in that class with her! These moments were some of the most treasured moments of my childhood. I specifically remember being in an art camp holding a tub of blue paint and thinking, ‘this is what I want to do when I grow up’. And here I am! I will be starting my 20th year as a public school art teacher this fall. That little girl made a good decision that day!
At what point did you realize that you had a passion for this form of art and what made you decide to turn it into a business?
Creating is a necessity for me. It keeps me centered. While I enjoy many different forms of art, I find pottery to be the most meditative for me. When I am alone on the pottery wheel (ok, alone with Netflix on my pottery wheel) the world stops, and I am present and calm. I am 100% focused on each move I make, and I find it very therapeutic. Marketing my work has been an even more awakening experience for me. I have clients who use my work as their everyday dishes, some that collect pieces from each shop update I have, and when strangers become friends because they found, love, and use my work, it is truly the most humbling experience.
Your work is very unique and detailed. What is the inspiration behind your designs?
Life. I have had some heartache over the years. I am a breast cancer survivor and have had to say goodbye to many friends from this disease. I use words and images that bring life into perspective. To help us find joy, or overcome, or look forward. Being a creative, and sometimes struggling with coping a loss, these are some themes that I need to remind myself daily and so the act of creating the work, and also choosing these specific words and images, are very healing to me.
We love that you incorporate inspirational messages or words of intention in some of your work - how did this start?
About 8 years or so ago, my friend, Colleen Attara, a Yardley based artist, introduced me to the One Little Word initiative and it has changed my life. It’s choosing one word in the beginning of the year to set your intention and then returning back to that word when you are struggling with a decision or are feeling off. It is a place to return to revisit your big picture for the year. In the past, some of my own words have been mend, shift, align, laugh and balance. I try to find words and messages that can be relatable to many people to include in my work.
Do you have any favorite designs or techniques?
I use underglaze transfers in my work and I start by drawing them on my iPad or on paper then I have the transfers commercially made and I use them in my work. I find it valuable that I have an unlimited number of combinations, and no two pieces I make are the same. I think that is why my work sells so quickly online; there is only one of each piece. The variety and possibilities keep my brain interested and engaged.
Anything new on the horizon?
Yes! I am super excited to be planning a set of Newtown inspired pieces that will be a limited quantity of my favorite landmarks and spaces in Newtown. It is my intention to have these prepared for the 2021 holiday season and to donate a portion of each sale to a cause connected to our little favorite town. Many of the images that I include will have special meaning and memories for townies in our community. I hope they resonate well and offer some moments of nostalgia for those who use them.
I feel so grateful to live here in Newtown, to share this community with my neighbors, family and friends and to have the opportunity to make artwork that is well received, used and loved.
For more information on Blair’s work visit www.the-newtown-studio.com. She also posts re-stock updates on her Instagram page @thenewtownstudio.