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Romy Northover

       

The perfect vessels to carry your superfoods and adaptogens, Romy Northover’s ceramics won us over at first glance. Just begging to be filled with with your favorite potions, her beautiful pieces are inspired by traditional Japanese techniques. Just as kind as she is talented, we can’t get enough of Romy and her beautiful “ancient future” aesthetic.

 

 In your own words, how would you describe what you do?

I manifest aesthetics from earth!

What has lead you down the path to this point in your career? Can you tell us a bit about your background?

I have always been involved in the arts in various capacities. Firstly through my family and later in education. I took a degree in visual arts in London, and after continued making art work. Back then I was more involved with installation and video art. My work is very much concerned with space. Now I translate that in design. I work closely with clients to imagine custom works that represent their ‘space’ in terms of brand, ethos, personality, as well as their interiors, stores, homes.

While I was working with visual arts I supported myself with different jobs, in a number of industries: fashion, fitness, service, advertising. Even if I wasn’t happy at some of these roles, they gave me a grounding to pull from. It has helped inform how I want to behave in running my own company and treat my employees. I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way mostly from trying to please other people, second guessing myself, avoiding or not being able to access what I really want.

Starting my company ‘No.‘ has been a very informative and progressive process. I’m alway learning and discovering things. For example, you need a strong stomach for ceramics as there is a lot of loss involved in the process. You have to become adept at letting it go and moving on!

Why did you choose ceramics as the medium for your work?

It’s my métier, something I can understand and communicate with. I’ve tried a lot of different things and nothing else is so natural. There was a period in my life of about 10 years where I wasn’t working with clay and I felt lost, there was a big, deep gap. It wasn’t until I did the work to go back and figure this out, that I realized just how central it is to my happiness and overall health. I think a lot of people who work with a certain material can relate. There isn’t really a choice at all!

What inspires you when it comes to your art?

It’s somatic. I am visual and constantly informing myself on art, design, culture. Ceramics as a practice is very physical, the materiality of the clay itself is revealing. But it goes much deeper. It’s so much to do with how things make me ‘feel’, how sounds, stories, daydreams, images and nature can make your skin vibrate. The visceral. So this inspiration can really come at me from anywhere at all, but it’s how I receive it that makes the difference.

You describe your ceramics as made with an “ancient future” style. What does that mean?

A lot in my work is about binary oppositions. Raw/refined, old/new. I do something that is as old as civilization, it reminds you of how you are part of a continuum. It really is astounding when you see just how old some pots are, they outlive the one who makes them. In a way ceramics don’t belong to any one person or era.

Do you have a favorite piece? What is your relationship to this piece?

No. I don’t have a favorite, I feel more connected to certain pieces at certain times, but for me it’s more about the process and progression. That is the role of the receiver of my work, to have the favorites.

What is your creative process like?

I have to make sure that I’m in good condition. If I’m tired, anxious or haven’t eaten well, I lose sight of what’s in front of me. So I spend a lot of time making sure I’m stabilized and vibrating on a higher level. Then the transmission is open!

Your pieces sells like crazy at CAP. Why do you think people connect to your work so much?

That’s really terrific to hear. This is a great compliment, it means I am doing my job, that what I am feeling translates.

I also think people love to, and should, ritualize, no matter how we adapt our lives it’s right there in our DNA.

As someone who has started their own business, what is the secret to your success?

It’s really about finding your own language, there is no right or wrong way to do business. You have to do it your way. Know the importance of saying ‘no’ if something doesn’t feel right. I try to ride more off my instinct because that is the internal knowledge, it’s not always so easy to locate with all the external noise, but it should absolutely be trusted.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I’m pretty rigorous with my routine around my workday, as each day in the studio is very different depending on the projects I have going on. Ceramics is a multistep process so you are working with each piece over several weeks before it’s finished. It moves in cycles. There is a large amount of heavy, dirty work, and there are a million and one things going on outside of the studio – conceptualizing, design, client meetings, site visits, inspiration trips, material sourcing and the ‘business stuff’, which I have really learnt to love. I can still get intimidated by numbers but I’m working on it!

How do you stay grounded when life gets hectic and stressful?

Haha! I have an arsenal of techniques. I use my body/pressure points/ breath/ tapping/ movement/ mantras. You really are your strongest allay, so it’s really finding ways to be able to manage yourself. Even if that does mean closing your eyes, muttering and tapping your chest repeatedly!

I also have an incredibly supportive family for when I get caught up in the tide, which most definitely happens!

Do you have any daily practices? How do you incorporate these practices into your everyday life?

In the morning I drink an anti-inflammatory, alkalizing tonic: lemon, cayenne, turmeric, black pepper, ginger and mangosteen. I first learnt a version of this on ‘The Layer’ and I love it.

If I can get outside to the park before work I do that too.

It’s a long commute to and from the studio, so I try to plan out how I want to feel, set goals, repeat mantras. I can get pretty depleted being stuffed in a box with a bunch of people, so this helps to counteract that.

Every night when I go to bed I use my beloved eye pillow – My friend Lily Piyathaisere of Gammer Folk  makes them, she works with beautiful natural dyes, and made this gorgeous little eye pillow filled with flax seeds. You can put essential oils on it too for enhancing the mood. I f*ing love that thing! From the second it goes on I calm down, prepare for sleep or meditate. AND it physically stops me from trying to stare at my phone!

Can you tell us a little bit about your self care rituals?

I’ve always been very sensitive and body aware. But when I hit puberty I couldn’t handle it, and like many women – and men for that matter – I suffered a disconnect which lasted a number of years. I’ve spent the last 6 years clawing my way back! Now I take self care very seriously and have fun with it.

A full 8 hours sleep is crucial for me. I learnt in Kundalini that the endocrine system is waking up at dawn, so you want to ride that wave. I rise at 5.30. It really works for me. I love the morning. I feel like I have a really full energetic day but this means I’m rarely out and about after dark! Body brushing and cold showers too. Seems like a punishment but they really make you zing!

I have three particular classes that I hate to miss. I schedule them in like a meeting because they are that important to my creative progression. These three practices have been instrumental in helping me through turning points/ blocks in my life. Like most people who own their own business there is always something that needs my attention, in these classes I can turn my attention in, and then I accelerate when I get back to work. There is never enough time, especially in a city like NY. After overworking and experiencing the physical limitations in the first couple of years, I try to economise. To work in a way that maximises my productivity without wringing me out.

The Class with Taryn Toomey: the class is beyond words you just have to experience it.

Kundalini Yoga in Park Slope: I’ve been practicing Kundalini for several years. Every class I go to seems to focus on exactly what I need at that moment. They know!

The Jumpboard at Karen Lord Pilates Movement: My work is really tough on the back, and Pilates straightens me out. The jumpboard gets your heart going and makes you feel weightless. Besides Karen’s studio is to die for, all monochrome perfection (I’m all about interiors!).

Taking time out is essential but hard to implement. Getting out is so just vital for gaining perspective, reassessing, realizing that there is a whole world outside of your world. It stretches you, gets all the senses going. For international flights I have a little bag of toner spritz, facial oil and lip balm from Province Apothecary. I can’t stand the atmosphere in the aircraft, so along with a ton of water, this little kit and the ritual of massaging in the oil helps me to feel halfway reasonable when I arrive. I always prepare something and NEVER touch the plane food. It makes me feel wretched!

My 2016 goal was to not buy new clothes and spend that budget on self care/body work instead. It’s still early on in the year but so far it’s great! It might be easier for me than most, as I spend the majority of the week in a dusty jumpsuit!

What does beauty is wellness and wellness is beauty mean to you?

Integrity. From the ground up.

What are your 5 top picks from CAP?

1. Matcha. My number one. I have this every morning.

2. Palo Santo. There is nothing like smoke, it’s primal and powerful.

3. The Program. I know this would be incredible.

4. Hand Cream . My skin takes a battering and this covers all bases, and besides.. the packaging!

5. The Japanese Root Treatment. The place to start.

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