Tina Frey’s clay tabletop pieces surpass what you’d find in most shops. Hers are so delicate, so modestly elegant that you forget you’re looking at a functional item and instead mistake it for art. Tina’s creations are inspired by the sea and nature, travel, and treats you loved as a kid – jelly beans and popsicles, evident in the vibrant colors she uses. We love her collections, which include carafes, cream and sugar sets, dishes, fruit bowls, platters and vessels, and we wanted to chat with Tina about her path.
Like most great ventures, Tina’s started out quietly and spontaneously. Though she got her professional start in finance and as a CPA, she always had an urge to pursue creative work. She made two bowls, showed them at an exhibition and noticed that people wanted to place orders. Soon, requests for more designs started pouring in, and the collection grew to what it is today, 10 years later.
While the road may have been winding, Tina hasn’t veered too off course from her childhood dream. “I did tell my parents that I wanted to be a designer when I was a kid, but didn’t actually know what that really meant. Who knew this is how things would turn out!” Today, Tina still loves the spontaneous approach that got things started in the first place. “I don’t stick to any rules or trends. I follow my instincts. I like things that are a little off kilter – it makes them more unique and special. I think that if I make something I love, it will be successful and other people will love it too.”
Creating those two bowls was the best career decision she could have made because of where it’s led. “I like having the freedom to make things and be creative without having to answer to anyone other than myself. This is rather satisfying.” Her job isn’t easy though, not by a long shot. “I didn’t realize when I started that this was going to be much harder than any job I have had in my life. It can be more physically and mentally challenging than you expect. Be prepared for blood, sweat, tears and lots of perseverance.”
More than flowing silhouettes and organic shapes, careful sculpting and handmade designs, Tina’s story is about finding a way to go after what you want so that you can live a life you’re in love with. “I hope that people feel inspired to pursue their dreams. Don’t be afraid to take risks, even if you have to make a change in your career to do so.”