Meet the Maker: Ceramic Artist and Painter Kate Martens

Meet the Maker: Ceramic Artist and Painter Kate Martens

Don't miss Kate's trunk show at the SoWa Winter Pop-up by Wyllo 11/27-11/29 11-6 at 65 Thayer St, Boston, MA 02118

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your brand. 

I live and work in Brighton, a neighborhood of Boston. I make a range of items - ceramic gnomes, small paintings, and a line of cards and prints. 

What inspired you to start your brand or craft?

I was a teacher for almost ten years - a job I really loved and valued. When my daughter was born, I made the difficult decision to leave my position as an art teacher. Even in the very early days, I loved being a parent, but there were things I missed about working. When I started my business, I was grateful to find not only a creative outlet, but also the empowerment that comes from being an entrepreneur. 

What does an average day look like? 

That is one thing I love about what I do. My work is flexible. Most of my day is spent with my two-year-old, which is seriously so fun. When she is asleep, I start my work day. 

What’s your favorite part of the job?

I love making things. And I also love selling the things I make. I feel grateful knowing that there are people who see the work I make (whether it is a gnome or a painting or a print) and like it enough to have it in their home. It's really an honor, when you think about it that way. 

When you’re creating do you have a person in mind?

Not really. That was one thing I love about doing in-person shows. Sometimes I am surprised by who takes an interest in my work. I sold some gnomes to a seven-year-old once (don't worry - I gave him a good deal).

When was your business founded and how has it evolved over time? 

Though I'd sold my art sporadically for many years, I started my business in an intentional way two years ago.

Are there any challenges that you’ve had to overcome?

My biggest challenge is always finding time to make (and sell and package and mail and wholesale and invoice and brand and list and promote) my work while fulfilling my responsibilities as a full-time parent. 

What is one piece of advice you have for a female entrepreneur just starting out?

One thing I have always tried to keep in mind is that starting a business takes time, and that failure is natural and unavoidable. I had a teacher in art school who was extremely successful. She told me once that if she applied for twenty opportunities, she would expect to be accepted into one. Knowing that even someone who is established and well-known still deals with disappointment has helped me feel hopeful, even when I've been rejected repeatedly. Building a business takes a long time and progress is slow, but it's important to celebrate your growth.  

Let us know where we can follow you. Feel free to share any news on upcoming projects. Optional bonus question: What's one thing on your bucket list? (Can be completely non business related)

Instagram: @katedotmartens

I am putting together an outdoor neighborhood market (with four other local women-owned businesses) in Brighton on December 12! More information is on my Instagram.

Shop Kate Martens at Wyllo


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