Talking Advantage Of Success | Marissa Childers | Episode 936

Talking Advantage Of Success | Marissa Childers | Episode 936

Marissa Childers | Episode 936

Marissa Childers earned her BFA from the University of North Alabama, worked as a ceramic intern at Anderson Ranch Art Center, and completed her MFA at the University of Oklahoma. Marissa was an NCECA graduate fellowship recipient in 2020 and was chosen as one of Ceramics Monthly’s Emerging Artists of 2022.


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You said you made your ottoman without really being sure it would work. When should one take a chance without becoming reckless?

I think for me, when you are talking about taking chance you just want to make sure you are not being too crazy. I would not have just taken the piece there and thrown them together without any kind of knowledge of what I was doing. I think that is where working with my dad’s background helps. But it’s also if you are feeling a little bit too comfortable with things taking a little bit of risk I find very helpful within my process.

Do you ever struggle with Ah, it’s good enough.

I struggle with the other aspect of that where I think nothing is good enough. Which could be also dangerous. I think that you have got to find that happy medium of knowing when to stop nit picking something but also not just throwing pieces together and saying, Oh, this is good enough, I’m not worried about it. 

You applied to be an emerging artists for NCECA and Ceramics Monthly, when you are putting yourself out there like that there are two things that are happening, you’ve got gumption but also you’ve got a certain sense that it’s okay to fail. Where does that grit come from?

Personally for me it helps with the way that I was brought up. I was always told that it is okay to fail. You are not going to learn as much if you get every thing every time you do it. Failure is very much something that I have sort of rooted in my process of it’s okay to fail, it’s not that big of a deal. And I think that for a lot of people the fear of failure is real. That is a big thing that you have to overcome.

Where did you get the impression or the idea that your voice matters?

That was a hard one. I feel like until this past year I didn’t feel like my voice mattered and that was what made grad school so hard for me. Not hard in the sense that I didn’t think I could do it but it was a struggle daily to kind of figure out what I was wanting to say, until I stopped and separated myself from that and starting thinking, No, what could my work be if this was like an extension of myself? And that kind of  started helping me figure that out a little bit better.

How do you know which opportunities to pursue?

I am not sure if you know that right off the bat. I know right out of undergrad I applied for a lot of residencies and got nine rejection letters in the same week. So that brought me down to earth a little bit. But then it’s also I think I sort of had this feeling when I was finishing up grad school that I finally felt that I was in a place where I needed to be with my work. Things started feeling right and connecting and just clicking into place. And then that’s when I started applying to things.

In the future you said you may want to teach at the University level  or maybe you want to chase down living off of your work. Elizabeth Gilbert talks about not putting that responsibility on the work. Do you feel that by teaching that takes the responsibility off of the making, off of the production process?

I think it does to an extent because you have that sort of fall back, you have that stable income. But for me it’s almost like I am not…if I am teaching constantly, I am not getting that quality time I want with clay and that time to just sit and reflect about what it is I am making. And so I think that it does help but it has its set backs as well if you want to look at it that way.


Little Stories of Your Life by Laura Pashby


Instagram: @marissa_ceramics

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