Uncommon Showcase: Skoby Joe Ceramics

We are fascinated by people and the search for what’s next. The stories we share are all designed to help you dive deeper and apply a little Uncommon Sense to your life and work.

Skoby Joe Ceramics is a Southern California based art shop selling handmade ceramics created by Joseph Skoby. His pieces are inspired by ancient Japanese craft, combined with the freedom to dive into the contemporary. From a distance, his pieces form a family, unified by slight similarities that mark Joe’s signature style, yet each one is strikingly different from its neighbor. We had the opportunity to sit down with Cristiana and Joe Skoby, founders of Skoby Joe Ceramics, to talk more about their passion to create, their beautiful work and the three Uncommon Principles they live by.

Humility runs the business.

Skoby Joe Ceramics (SJC) operates from a humble place. The small husband and wife ceramics business is based in the heart of La Jolla, California. The cozy studio is full of lovingly crafted clay creations. Each ceramic piece they create and sell is made by hand and unique. Cristiana sees their purpose is clear—“The shaping of earth into an object of beauty is done for the sole purpose of creating beauty. Although this maybe a humble pursuit, there is something immensely profound that touches some of the deepest cords of our human nature.”

Working together to create great work together.

Joe makes all of the art pieces and manages the creative side of the business and Cristiana handles all of the business aspects. The way they sell their products is very collaborative. The sale process generally starts with an email conversation that originates from their website or Instagram account. Because so much detail goes into insuring the art piece and shipment, they don’t have a direct shop online but rather collaborate with the buyer to arrange the best delivery. This creates a more intimate sale and connection. If able, Skoby Joe always encourages people to visit their studio.

SJC values human connection, and their products are created with that connection in mind. “Anything that we as humans create with honesty will be perceived as unique to them.” Cristiana explained. As cliché as is sounds“…follow your dreams and do what you love actually works out! Our life and the company kind of meld into the same fabric—it is just a limb of who we are. It has been a great source of meaning for both of us.”

Inspired by nature.

Created in Joe’s personal lush garden and inspired by his love for the ocean as a lifelong surfer, each vessel he creates is textured and glazed with visions of the sun engulfed in saltwater. Skoby Joe’s works are simple, yet profound, and often paired in groups, forming a relationship mirroring that of his own with nature.

One of the draws to the medium of ceramics for Joe has always been the simplicity of the whole process. “It is so elemental, literally taking earth from the ground to sculpt, and many of the tools used can be found in nature. Different textures can be created with bunches of pine needles or the right piece of driftwood—or really anything that one could feel inspired to use. Nature is so full of immense beauty that the inspiration is endless—from low tide sea creature colonies to desert cacti and rock formations and anything in between.”

Embrace the beauty of mistakes.

In the Japanese tradition of ceramics, the “mistakes” that occur in the process end up being the most beautiful aspects of the piece—a principle that SJC believes is a good analogy for business and life itself. The result is an art piece that embodies an aesthetic principle where imperfections become the birthplace of unique beauty. “The subtle happenstances that occur in either the making, or firing or glazing of the piece,” Cristiana says, “often end up being the most beautiful aspects. It feels like nature or life itself is allowed to influence the piece which can add a profound element of beauty.”

Sharing inspired moments.

Inspiration ebbs and flows, and when there are the fortunate moments of flow, they just make a generous effort to capture and share them. There are times when the creativity is just not there, and for Joe, “when that is the case, it cannot be forced”, so they simply find something else that inspires them. “Acts like cleaning the studio or going surfing can help allow and appreciate the moments of ebbing creativity.” Joe explains, “Somehow, eventually the inspiration finds its way back into my headspace and then boom!—I just enjoy the ride.”

Skoby Joe Ceramics lives and operates by three Uncommon Sense Principles:

1) Don’t work too much

2) Money isn’t everything

3) Less is more

Watch this video featuring Skoby’s latest collaboration with Vissla: 

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