inspiration / real stuff

Introducing: Calico Ceramics

Where has the time gone??!! It’s been months since my last post (shameful excuse for a blogger, I am) but it hasn’t been all lying around watching series. I have, in fact, (drumroll please…) started my own business! Let me introduce you to my little labour of love (and sweat and tears and really reeeaallyy dry hands), Calico Ceramics!

I’ve been meaning to write about my newly launched company for some time now, especially since I thought I’d have nothing but time at first while my business slowly crawled into existence (which, incidentally, is what I was hoping for, so I wouldn’t be totally overwhelmed while I was still busy healing). Wrong. It has been Manic. I still have to pinch myself every damn day that this is even real. A wonderful problem to have, my meant-to-be-tiny business has exploded virtually overnight and I can hardly keep up! And while I am utterly overwhelmed with joy and gratitude that my funny little idea has spawned such love and appreciation, it has left me with barely any time to blog or update you all on what’s been happening. That, and as mentioned, supremely dry hands (occupational hazard). But right now we have loadshedding again (sigh…) and baby is sleeping so I can quickly write this.

So yes, let me tell you how this little ember of an idea in the recess of my often foggy brain (anxiety is a thing and a post for another time), became a full force furnace!

As you know by now (or perhaps not – feel free to read all about that story here), I’d been so sick that I hadn’t been able to work for 18 months. EIGHTEEN MONTHS without a salary is no joke. Somehow we scraped through on Tim’s salary alone but obviously that wasn’t sustainable and we just ate into our savings. Truth be told I wasn’t really ready to go back to a corporate job. I was scared that I’d just stay sick or all my recurring symptoms would negatively affect my job performance and people wouldn’t take me seriously. Also, I’d dreamed of being my own boss since forever because who hasn’t?! I was SO over working to line others’ pockets but how to even start something like that?? And do what? I had no idea. Then, out of nowhere, a spark.

I’d been slowly getting stronger in the second half of this year, getting my energy back a bit but nothing close to how I was before I got sick. Still, I was miles away from the wreck that was my body in the beginning of this year so I decided to edge a toe into the waters of potentially getting a job that I could do from home. I was over freelance writing for other publications – I wanted something brand new that I knew I could already do, that I wouldn’t need to study or train for, that I could begin immediately and just immerse myself in. Then I remembered that when I was super pregnant and super bored, I had made a baby mobile for Gia and my friends and family went nuts for it. This could be a business! But then after many attempts and many failures, I was just too ill to get it right or find a way to do it quickly so that it could actually be a viable source of income. And then one day, as if struck by a bolt of inspiration, the thought popped into my head – ceramics! I’d done ceramics as a hobby for years but never considered myself good enough to ever be an actual ceramicist. And then, when your life takes such an about turn, you really start to reevaluate things. Could I be a ceramicist? Hells yes I could! And so began the journey.

I made calls. I sent emails. I asked ceramicist friends and old teachers how to do this thing. I rejoined a studio to brush up my skills and delved deeper than I’d ever been into the world of pottery. If I was going to do this, I would have to be obsessed. And I tell you, not only do I spend more hours Pinning ceramic images and tutorials than anything else on Pinterest, but it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me, career wise. Each time my (dry, dry, dryyyyyyy) hands meet that clay, that thick grey disc of silky mud, a healing happens. My spirit, my body, my energy heals. And God, but did I ever need healing. I can work my own hours and go at my own pace, so when I’m exhausted again and I just can’t catch my breath, I can stop and rest a bit, play with my daughter or lie down without fear of losing my job. It was a very roundabout, super protracted way to finding my path, but I’m grateful I finally found it and it’s actually working! Like, people are buying my stuff?! Total madness.

What I love most though, is the philosophy behind what I’ve chosen as my new profession. Pottery is a meditation, irrespective of what you’re making. And it’s a damn fine teacher. Just when you think you’ve nailed something or you’ve figured it all out, this ancient alchemy laughs in your face and humbles you all over again. I’m totally, irrevocably in love. I’m also reminded of something Michelle Obama mentions in her new book, ‘Becoming’, that she doesn’t like it when people ask kids what they want to be they grow up. A person – especially a girl – doesn’t have to be one thing when she grows up, they can keep on evolving and shifting and changing, and a career isn’t always going to be one thing. The aim is to never stop ‘becoming’ who you are.

Now there’s a little cartwheeling 6 year old me inside that’s super happy she can finally say that aside from being a writer / singer / baker / creative, she’ll also be an artist when she grows up! I’m an artist!? I am an artist! I have to say it out loud or I just won’t believe it’s true. I’ve learnt a lot this year. Like a lot, a lot. And my biggest lesson is this: Life has this funny way of figuring things out, and you’re always in the exact right, perfect place at all times in your life – even the really scary, shitty times are all perfectly meant to be. Just trust it. Go with it. Something beautiful awaits.

For more information or to place an order visit or @calicoceramics on Instagram.

2 thoughts on “Introducing: Calico Ceramics

  1. Tarryn

    You are an absolute inspiration. I can’t belive what you have been through and to now find your calling and what makes you happy. Your work is stunningly. I find myself in this rat race you described and I’m desperate to get out and be my own boss too – and to focus on ceramics as well. I read your story a while back and it gave me the push I needed to do it. I had been talking about starting my own business and making my ceramics to sell for the longest time but I just never did. So I just decided I need to just jump in and do it. So I’m starting small with my brother (Tarryn and Craig Ceramics) and trying to get an online store going…I must say, it’s the hardest thing with still having my full time job. But I’m getting there, slowly but surely. Keep doing what your doing and keep inspiring people like me to make the shift into a happier and calmer life. Thank you for sharing your incredible story!

    1. Danielle Le Chat Post author

      Oh my gosh, Tarryn, thank you so much for your kind words! It really is the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s by no means easy – in fact I work twice as hard as I did when I was in corporate, but working for yourself really is a dream come true. You can see the immediate result of all that hard work, instead of simply lining the bosses’ pockets. Very very rewarding! Go for it!


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