Under the Influence: James Zilian

Tucked away in the hills of Vermont lies a small town named Woodstock, and it is here that you will find an exquisite ceramist, James Zilian. He is co-founder of farmhouse pottery and creates stunning neutral, simple, yet extremely eye-catching ceramics among a variety of other house hold items where quality and the materials used are key. He cares so much about quality that he and his partner teamed up to create a special secret recipe for an ultra durable and very aesthetically pleasing stoneware they use to make all of their pieces. 


1. What is your favorite part of the creative process?

This one's easy, it's that magical feeling knowing when you just created something really good. It's like a force you can feel inside– a change made with your own creative spirit that represents growth with something that is going to have a positive impact on the marketplace and people's curious side.


2. What is your favorite creation that you have brought to existence?  

The milk bottle match striker. Hands down. It came about 7 years ago in my cold basement studio in Vermont. I was going through my normal morning routine, which entailed all the chores, and my favorite part being lighting the wood stove up. I was holding a mug in my hand and had a curious thought (these types of thoughts that can get you in deep trouble or lead to something amazing with high levels of endorphins) about striking the match on the raw stoneware clay of the mug instead of the match box. Boom! Bang! Flash! It was something else. It was magic, well it was magic to me at least... I had started fire with my favorite thing in the world, clay! So, from there I obsessively worked on throwing little vessels all day that would hold matches and the milk bottle was born.


3. What aesthetic are you most drawn to? 

Hmmm. I'm pretty simple, like a modern day caveman (but extremely complicated). So, I'm a fan of simplicity in design and function. I think successful, minimal and organic design is very hard to achieve so that's what I am drawn to.


4. What is your favorite room in the home?  

The places where the magic happens; from the hearth, to the table, to the studio. 


5. What is your favorite design from Sunny’s Pop?  

I think Sunny is cool...but she's not for sale so I'd say the retro colored dartboard. I think it's a great object, it's almost an art piece more than a game. I'm a big fan of games, I'm annoyingly competitive so not having scores on the board would probably be good practice.