Madeleine Pellegren is a ceramicist based in Los Angeles making one of a kind, hand thrown pieces in speckled earthy tones with occasional splashes of color.
Tell us about yourself.
I've always needed to do things with my hands and have loved to make stuff. I've tried basically every single hobby in the world. My criteria for my job was really, "Do I not have to be on a computer, and will I still have a little bit of time and energy to do whatever I want hobby-wise?". Over time, ceramics just got to the point where it took over and it became really what I just wanted to do most of the time.
Describe your work in three words.
Strong. Fluid. Tactile.
Tell us about how you come up with new ideas.
I still think of myself as a beginner in a lot of ways. There are so many different things you can make and there are so many different things I haven't made. So I just keep wanting to try new things. I think in that struggle or in the process of doing that, new ideas come up or you hit on something that you want to explore further or try to master. It kind of ends up being the overlap of what I enjoy making and what I like looking at.
How did you start making menorahs?
I made my first menorah as a Hanukkah present for my best friend Becca. I had been making arched candelabras for a while, and so I basically just kept adding cups until I got to a menorah. I loved how it looked and she loved it, and then other friends wanted them so I've been making them ever since. I'm not Jewish and I don't celebrate Hanukkah – so I don't use them myself, but I really like that other people do and that there is this special significance to it.
What do you want people to feel when they see or touch your work?
When people pick up my work, I would like them to feel like it feels good in their hand. And that it was well-made, and maybe feel like they wanted to wait a second before they put it down.
Where do you see your practice growing? What are you most excited about in the future?
I would like to keep trying new things and just getting better and better. I like the idea that in five years or ten years, I'll be making totally different things. That I can't imagine what I would be making in that amount of time is exciting. So I think for me, keeping space to experiment and play is really important.