At The Ode To we are always curious to learn more about creativity and artistry, so we asked Elizabeth Sawyer, the creator behind Studio Bean to tell us a little bit about her life, her art and her sources of inspiration.
What do you call your series of artwork?
– 'Wallflowers' and 'Mini's.'
The 'Wallflowers'' series takes its name from the obvious—flower-shaped and wall-mounted. But there's more to it; I'm drawn to the melancholy of the term "Wallflower," signifying introversion and shying away from the limelight. In some ways, the Wallflower collection embodies this essence—subtle, organic, and an understated statement.
The 'Mini's' collection was born from playful, small sculptures I created with the idea that owning a statement piece doesn't have to be grand or costly. They, too, are subtle, aiming to bring whimsy and joy to your space—something you place on your desk, pick up, hold, and smile at. While not all are mini in size, each shape originates from a small idea, nurtured into something more.
What technique have you used?
– I primarily use the coil method for my ceramic pieces. It provides adaptability and creative freedom. For the Wallflower collection, I start with paper templates and build from there. The technique for the Mini's collection varies depending on size and shape, but all pieces are hollow to prevent kiln explosions.
What inspired you to create the artworks you have made for The Ode To?
– Most of my work and ideas happen spontaneously, often striking me when I'm falling asleep, waking up, or walking to the studio. With the Wallflowers, I woke up one day with the thought, "I'm going to make sculptures to hang on the wall," and so I did. I seldom sit down to plan a series or collection; my ideas usually occur in the moment. If I get into a good flow with a piece, it naturally evolves into a series or collection, sometimes remaining a one-off. My working style is unpredictable, and it's uncertain what will stick or be expressed in a single sitting.
Can you tell us about your background and how you came to be an artist?
– Being creative was inevitable from an early age. I was always on the move, getting my hands dirty with paint, mud, sand, and more. I pursued Fine Art at university and later moved from the UK to Berlin, immersing myself in finding a new rhythm and adapting to life in a different country. During this time, I shifted my focus towards making music and writing poetry. These experiences profoundly shaped my approach to making artwork. I became more intentional and thoughtful, almost cautious, in my approach, partly due to resource constraints and the need to avoid waste in a capital city with soaring rent prices and long working hours.
Ceramics offered a forgiving medium—unfired clay could be recycled, bisque-fired clay repurposed. This material flexibility resonated with me, and I embraced it. It wasn't about waste; it was about transformation. I discovered ceramics through a handbuilding class organized for a workplace Christmas party, became captivated, and, six months later, applied for a studio space where I've been since October 2022.
How would you describe your art and aesthetics in three words?
– Playful, whimsical, nostalgic
What we love about STUDIO BEAN:
We're enchanted by Studio Bean's ability to infuse ceramics with playfulness and nostalgia. Her "Wallflowers" gracefully adorn walls with subtle, organic elegance, while the "Mini's" collection brings joy and whimsy to everyday spaces. Studio Bean's spontaneity and innovation are evident in each piece, creating a unique and captivating artistic experience.