Two Hands Full
Amelia Davis, a ceramicist, is the owner and maker behind Two Hands Full. Passionate about creating with her hands, and a deep love for the natural world, she creates each piece in her Boulder, Colorado studio. Below is an interview with Amelia about the inspiration behind her work and her passion for creating.
What inspires you to create?
I am greatly inspired by the natural world around me, in shape, texture, color, and principle. I've always loved abstract expressionism and minimalist art, too.
Who are some of your favorite makers, artisans, creatives?
It intimidates me to even begin to answer this...but here are some of my favorite artists, writers, musicians, and makers: Henri Matisse, Georgia O'Keeffe, Steely Dan, Amy Cutler, Hiatus Kaiyote, Wendell Berry, Milton Avery, Gary Snyder, Erykah Badu, Helen Frankenthaler, The Grateful Dead/ Jerry Garcia Band, Jamie Wyeth, Sarah Winward (floral designer), Annie Costello Brown...the list goes on.
Are making things a part of your past?
Always. When I was young I knew I wanted to be a clothing designer. I'd sew these pieces made from my mom's, grandmother's, and great-grandmother's fabric scraps (also curtains from my brother’s bedroom...) - pretty much whatever I could get my hands on. I loved making things I could wear or use (and still do!).
Where did the name Two Hands Full come from?
Two Hands Full is a call to those out there who always have their hands full...when I am not in the studio, you can (most likely) find me knitting, working with plants, out with my dog, or cooking. It goes far beyond tangible things though.
My logo was greatly inspired by the heart in hand symbol, of Shaker roots, that means to "put your hands to work and hearts to God". While I find "God" to be more of a higher power/force, I love the reminder that hard work comes deep from the heart. I definitely try my best to live this way, and don't do many things with a distant heart.
What would you be doing if you weren’t creating ceramics?
Before I transitioned to my business full time, I was working as a florist. I love working with flowers and miss it quite often, so perhaps that. My background is formally in Environmental Studies though, so perhaps somewhere in Environmental Education. I see a very important niche in this field right now. Either or both of these may very well be in my future...taking it one step at a time!
What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever created?
I made a set of casserole dishes in high school that I have a very soft spot for...this was a huge project for me at the time and it was a moment where I first fell in love with the labor of working with clay - getting each piece right until I felt it was truly finished. Although they are each wonky in their own unique way, they symbolize a real shift from making whatever I felt like making to setting out to make something complex and succeeding. They currently live at my Mom's house back in Vermont.
How do you manage balancing work/life?
I honestly have not achieved a steady/bombproof equilibrium quite yet...I try to be extra vigilant about giving myself permission for self-care, though. That seems to be the most important thing. It is a blessing and a curse to love what I do this much.
I am learning every day what works and what doesn't. I think keeping a steady meditation practice (as much as I can) also is very helpful.
What do you like most about your career?
Being a part of the small business/maker world has been amazing. I've met so many incredible folks following their heart and forging a path in this somewhat new way of doing things. It feels really great to be adding to my local economy, creating something that people can use in their homes and tells a positive story rather than one that comes out of perhaps unfair labor or land degradation. I also love that I am able to have full control on what I put out into the world and how. I've been able to donate to Sacred Stone Camp, Planned Parenthood, Earthjustice, and the ACLU which feels incredibly empowering in our current political climate. Having a platform to stand up for these groups has been really great.
What makes you happiest about what you do?
Other than being able to indulge my creativity, I love when someone sees my work and it totally resonates. I know that feeling for me, when I find something that speaks to me and makes my day or home much brighter. I feel humbled and honored to put pieces out into the world that do that for others.
What’s the one piece of advice that you wish you had heard when you began creating your own art?
I had a lot of wonderful advice from friends who are incredible makers as well as business-minded folk, so I really felt like I was set up well. Though I think the thing that has helped most is the reminder that some days in the studio will really just feel like work: days where creativity is low or my hands are just tired. While I absolutely love what I am doing, I think it is easy to over-romanticize the dream of being a working artist/craftsman, thinking that every day will be rushing with inspiration. This isn't always the case and I think that is totally OK and human.
Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned in running a business?
For one, self-compassion. It gets really easy to base everything on numbers and orders and clients and all of that...which, while very important, isn't everything. Letting myself mess up and not be the "Wonder Woman" I may want to be has been a great lesson.
We currently stock the O'Keeffe Country Mug in our shop, and look forward to bringing in more of Two Hands Full's beautiful work.