This week we sat down with the designer and mastermind behind fun and fantastic NYC based ceramic label, Mellow - Elise Wilken - ahead of a very exciting drop to land at MHD. Scroll down to discover what her inspirations were behind the new collection - and a little more personally, how her new studio is going and what she is doing to keep busy during these crazy and unpredictable times.
MHD: How is NY at the moment?
Elise: Weird and wonderful. It's just coming to the end of a very hot summer.
How long have you lived there and what is your favourite aspect, is it the people? The culture, food?
I have lived here for nearly 4 years now. I love that every corner your turn there is something weird going on, or some stranger wanting to have a chat. I'm always surprised by this city.
We heard that you have recently moved to a new studio, how did that come about?
The new studio space was purely a result of the pandemic, I'm not sure it would have happened this way if circumstances were different.
My good friends who have a studio in Soho where they sell handmade Turkish shoes, under the name Sabah, were just occupying half of their space and offered for me to use the other half. Given the pandemic and that the shop wasn't open it was the perfect time to set up a ceramic studio in there.
If you feel, could you describe the space - what other creatives are making/sharing this space?
The studio is just myself (Mellow) and Sabah — I occupy one half and Sabah the other. It is a lovely loft studio in Soho, located just off of Bleecker st. The space is lined with large windows facing south & high ceilings with walls coated in white, there are lots of plants and natural light throughout the day.
Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind your collection - the new pieces in your ever expanding range?
I suppose I started out with a collection of Incense holders, then added products here and there. Now I slowly add to it as I feel. Experimenting with shapes, patterns and techniques as they come to mind.
What is the most rewarding part for you in the making process?
I feel a great deal of accomplishment in knowing that I have made every Mellow piece by hand.
How have you been keeping busy during the lockdowns/corona times?
I have been in 'lockdown' since early March. From then until June my days consisted of cooking food, doing yoga, face-timing with friends, and watching movies and shows in between. Now I just make ceramics and take photos :)
Where would you recommend to go for the best coffee/bite to eat in your neighbourhood?
I live in the Lower East Side, I would say you can't really go wrong taking your pick at any establishment around here. But my favourite restaurant is Cervos and my go-to coffee is Cafe Grumpy.
What is your favourite piece that you have made, that you find you use often?
I tend to sell most pieces I make, I generally get left with the piece with a chipped handle, etc. In saying that, I use my Totem Mug daily. My favourite piece is definitely the Cowboy Boot Vase and Gemini Vase...
What is your favourite piece of music at the moment?
Turiya & Ramakrishna by Alice Coltrane.
Interview by Gussie Vinall Richardson
Photos by Elise Wilken
Layout design by Shelby De Fazio