poses with her
In 1999, around the time Goldminc was
toying with the idea of outsourcing the manufacturing of her work, a representative from
Blue Sky, a giftware company specializing in
ceramic pieces, approached her. “It was a huge
amount of trust [for me] to say, ‘Can you take
this and reproduce it to look identical?’ ” she
says. “So I held my breath, and five months
later I had my work in the Atlanta gift show.”
Blue Sky has its own facility in China
where each piece is sculpted and painted to
match Goldminc’s original sculpture.
Goldminc’s collections include everyday
lines and limited pieces. “The most beautiful thing is that they’ve never censored me.
If I wanted to put stained glass in a piece or
add 14-karat-gold trim I can,” she adds.
“Blue Sky never cuts corners on the finishing of my product.”
Future shaping up nicely
KIM STALLKNECHT PHOTOGRAPHY
When The Connection spoke with
Goldminc in late April 2010, she was already
working on the design for Costco’s Christmas
2011 piece. “I’m evolving as a designer,” she
says about the inclusion of movement, lights
and sounds. “I like that challenge.”
Clay artist Heather Goldminc
sculpts holiday treasures
By Stephanie E. Ponder
She still sculpts by hand every piece she
designs. Since having hand surgery earlier
this year, she’s taken on an assistant who creates the skeleton of a design, while Goldminc
takes care of the details.
The Blue Sky’s the limit
AT ROUGHLY 500 square feet, the studio of
clay artist Heather Goldminc is filled with
signs of her creative process. Her drafting
table is covered in Christmas cards that serve
as inspiration: “There might be the perfect
snowflake in there,” Goldminc explains.
The first time Heather Goldminc handled
clay, as a child, she was “instantly mesmerized.”
Goldminc says she’s most creative in the
evenings, adding that her 17-year-old daughter often joins her in her studio, which is just
a stone’s throw from their house.
On the walls she’s pinned up magazine
pages with fun patterns and colors, as well as
sketches and watercolors of her designs. The
front room of the studio sports original
ceramic pieces she makes. The back room is
filled with a collection of finished pieces, and
her two kilns are in the attached garage.
Despite the early appeal, her talent didn’t
fully blossom until high school. By the time
she was in grade 12, her teacher was creating
classes just for her. Goldminc got her first
taste of financial success through selling her
work to teachers.
Even though Goldminc says she’s outgrowing her space, it’s safe to say her studio is
where she’s continually rediscovering her love
of clay and all of its possibilities. After all, as
she says, “Every time I open the kiln, it’s
Christmas morning.” C
The cozy workspace in Lantzville, British
Columbia, belies Goldminc’s success as an
artist who’s designed thousands of pieces,
including a Disney-commissioned version of
Cinderella’s castle and a tea-light snowman
designed exclusively for Costco (see the
Supplier Profile box).
All of her work has a distinct style, one
that translates into pieces that have a certain
roundness to them. She says she tries to make
her pieces perfect, but it’s the gentle curves
and fullness that mark something made
under her brand, Clayworks.
“The word that comes up constantly is
whimsical,” says Goldminc.
After a brief stint in art school, she
worked decorating cakes
until her parents bought her
her first kiln. supplier three tea-light candles,
She started making candle houses (house-shaped
candle holders) and selling profile cutout windows and
several ornamental birds.
Comment on Costco:
them door-to-door. Before “I have had such a won-
long galleries and shops Company: Clayworks derful time creating this
across Canada were selling snowman exclusively for
her work. Founder:
Costco members. The
Her sales also benefited Heather Goldminc
challenge of bringing the
from a move to Gabriola Website: best design, the finest
Island, off the coast of www.realblueskygifts.com cutwork detail and a really
Vancouver Island, in 1996. Items at Costco: 19-inch lovable character to life is
Prone to power outages, the “Night Before Christmas” exactly the type of work
island served as a natural snowman candle house. that gets me out of bed
market for her candle The snowman features 22- in the morning.”
houses. “I sold and sold and karat-gold details, room for —Heather Goldminc
sold them,” she says.
O CTOBER 2010 e e Costco Connection 3 9
9/21/10 11:30 AM