The Right Tools | Betsy Morningstar | Episode 908

The Right Tools | Betsy Morningstar | Episode 908

Betsy Morningstar | Episode 908

Betsy Morningstar loves yellow, donuts, and her cat, Vesper. Betsy’s hobbies include making peanut butter, carrying her cat up into her loft studio, and smiling. Betsy is a full time high school art teacher near Baltimore, Maryland. Betsy started creating porcelain notebook papers out of a need to find and see importance in each day, and to communicate outside of herself in a physical way. Each porcelain paper features journal notes and fleeting moments from a day in Betsy’s life, now forever special and permanent. The notes vary on the emotional spectrum of life, but all are significant moments Betsy never wants to forget. They are Betsy’s brain and her heart in physical form.


Image result for Patreon logo  You can help support the show!

Skutt Logo



Number 1 brand in America for a reason.



Georgies Logo


For all your ceramic needs go to


What took you so long to get the right tools in the beginning?

I think it was confidence in myself and what I was doing. Because like you said, when you first start out you get the simple tool because you are like, Yeah, this will work just fine. So I had a lot of the base level grade and I didn’t think I was worthy enough of the good thing, yet. So I was just holding off thinking I would change direction, but then I realized that this concept and this style was sticking and I needed to reward myself  and give myself a gift.

I am am hearing you say that you didn’t value yourself enough, would it have been helpful to think that your work deserved it?

Yeah, fair. (laughter) Yeah, that’s very true, well and a lot of it to is you are raised in a world where I am going to be a starving artist, I need to save up all this money that I am making off my pottery so I can’t spend it on anything. So I was like, I’ve got to just hoard this, I can’t do anything with it.  And in the end it was just like yeah, my work did deserve it because it makes my work better having this consistency of a slab roller. So I am glad that I did it but I had to convince myself that it was the right choice for me.

Do the right tools increase your productivity and efficiency?

Absolutely. The first night after my slab roller was set up and ready to go, I rolled out 25 pounds of clay, I do a brick at a time. And I remember I texted my mom because I said, I just rolled out all of this clay in less than one Netflix show.  It was usually a whole evening and I would have my clay rolled out.  One episode was over and I was already done. I was like, This is amazing. 

Do you feel like it also brings about a certain amount of safety having…like safety to your body, health to your body, having the real tool?

Yeah, for sure! I mean it was funny, before I set up my slab roller I took a video of myself doing my work and I was rolling out slabs and I never posted it because I played it back and I watched myself be in pain and I was like, This is ridiculous. What am I doing? Because I watched myself, my table was low and I could tell the way that I was moving I could tell how much I was pushing through the pain of my hands and my back and my arms and I watched myself and thought, I’ve got to get this figured out. And now a friend of mine built me a table that is at the exact height that I need it to be so I can stand perfectly straight while I roll out my slabs. And my body definitely thanks me for it.

Did it make you more excited about working knowing that you had the right thing there to work with?

Yes! Absolutely! And because I could roll out the slabs quicker it has made me more excited to play because I am not wasting all this clay that took me forever to roll out. So because the roll out in just a part of my process it like, Okay now I get to the really fun part that I enjoy and making the paper and I am not wasting my time so much rolling out the clay. So I get to play a little bit more.

What about the idea, Oh it just makes the job easier so it’s not quite as authentic? Is that accurate?

I did worry about that, because I thought if I am not doing it by hand then it’s not exactly from me but still the clay gets it’s own different functions because my hands are touching it and it gets that human aspect of it still. Even thought the very first process is done by machine but the rest of the process is done by my hand.

When you look at your studio and see the equipment does it make you feel like you are a “real” artist?

Yeah, I does! (laughter) My friends and I in grad school always say you feel like a capital A artist, not just a lower case a. You know? And yeah, it does, having this piece of equipment in my studio that is on a proper table, it makes me feel really cool. And it just makes me feel a little bit better at what I do.

Your studio is all tricked out the way the work deserves what  has you challenged now? 

I think two things. I think a challenge for me is producing and staying up to the level that I want to be at and creating the work that people want. So I can continue to live my life based off this work. But the also giving myself the time to play and experiment with what I love and not just produce the thing that’s going to sell.


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 


Instagram: @morningstarmud