This month (and always!) we are inspired by Bend artist Luma Jawad, the talented creative behind Via Luma Ceramics, a local small business that you may have discovered at our local Farmer’s Markets here in town. Luma’s gorgeous handmade pieces begin with a naturally speckled clay, which are thrown on the wheel or hand built, then fired and hand painted using matte glazes. Read on to learn more about Luma’s impressive career as an artist, and what inspires her in work and life!

Q:  Hi Luma! Let’s start with your unique path to Via Luma Ceramics. Tell us a bit about your background as a designer and what drew you to ceramics.

LJ: I studied studio art at NYU – focusing on painting and photography. One of my first jobs after graduating was the assistant to a French hat designer, Lola. She was an amazing creative and all of our production was done in house in NYC which gave me an incredible education in how to run a small business. I learned so much from that job and it launched my fashion career. I was Anthropologie’s first in-house footwear designer, where I learned everything traveling to our factories in Brazil, Spain, and China. I worked as an accessories designer in NYC for over 15 years working for a lot of big and small companies and designers. While I loved the creative and travel aspects, I always knew I wanted to do my own thing. I wasn’t sure what medium until I randomly took a ceramics workshop in Vermont in the summer of 2018. That was my first time working with clay and I absolutely fell in love. The experience of working on the wheel with clay is grounding, challenging, and drops me into the present like nothing else.

Q: What do you love most about the process of working and creating with clay?

LJ: The connection to clay is very elemental for me, meaning it’s literally earth and the tools that we use to work with the clay are: water, wood, metal, and fire. There is something so basic and primal about ceramics. It’s an ancient medium that I feel so grateful to have found. I love that a lump of clay can be transformed into anything – and most of all that it creates functional objects that help elevate the everyday moments of our life with ritual: a meal shared with friends and family, that first sip of coffee in the morning…

Q: Not only are you a talented artist, but you also teach others! Can you tell us about your Centered classes? 

LJ: I teach a combination of meditation + pottery called Centered. The idea came to me when I first came out to Bend for my yoga teacher training. I was studying different meditation techniques and really struggling with centering on the wheel one night. I tried closing my eyes and focusing on my breath while on the wheel, and it was an unlock for me. I think the wheel is a mirror for whatever is going on within us – and using the clay and breath are very powerful tools to ground in the present moment.

(Note: Luma is focused on a few other projects at the moment so she is not taking on new students, but check her website for future offerings!)

Q:  What or who have been your greatest inspirations or influences when it comes to art (or life in general?)

LJ: I am very inspired by a wide variety of artists such as Lucie Rie, Leonora Carrington, and Louise Bourgeois, who I had the pleasure of meeting and presenting some of my work to when I was still in school before she passed. I also love the work of Marc Chagall, Joan Miro, Francis Bacon. I was very fortunate to able to study a lot of art history as well as travel and see so much art in person. One of my favorite memories was in Zurich, Switzerland during my semester studying in Florence, Italy – I stumbled upon a small church where March Chagall painted the stained-glass windows and it was just a small space with benches and the windows. I’ll never forget the light and colors.

Q: What is one piece of advice you’d offer to someone who is working with clay for the first time?

LJ: To be gentle and patient with yourself. It’s a lot more challenging that it looks. And to practice detachment – all clay can be recycled and reused which is amazing. Focus more on practicing and less on the result.

Q: What does well-being mean to you? What role does creativity play in this for you?

LJ: Well-being means balance to me: a balance of movement, making, and meditation is what helps me feel most balanced. Creativity plays a huge role in that for me in the sense that if I’m not making, I feel off. Being able to make and share what I make is an absolute gift that I am so grateful for.

Q: We’d love to hear more about your health journey at Inspired Health  

LJ: Acupuncture is something my body responds to incredibly well. It is a tool I often rely on to recalibrate and achieve balance. Dr. Dishman is incredibly gifted and effective, I love seeing her for treatments and always leave feeling more grounded.

Q: Are there any music, books, or podcasts that have inspired you lately?

LJ: I love music and listen to it all day long in the studio. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Ocie Elliot and Jon and Roy. But I also love 90s hip hop when I’m working late.

Q: And as usual, let’s share some Central Oregon love!  Can you share a couple of your favorite businesses or activities in Bend?  

LJ: I love hiking out to Tumalo Falls and recently discovered the Hidden Forest. Bosa is my absolute favorite restaurant – amazing handmade pastas and incredible salads. Favorite places to shop are Lark, Vanilla, and Gathered Wares.

Thank you so much Luma!  

Learn more about Luma and shop her creations at her website. Follow her on Instagram @via_luma_ and be on the lookout for her at local farmer and maker’s markets here in Bend!