Artist Feature: Peyton Flynn of Cloud 9 Clay
We had the pleasure of catching up with Peyton Flynn, the creator + sole artist behind Cloud 9 Clay!
Hey Peyton! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi! I’m Peyton. I am a ceramic artist, a yogi, & a traveler. I’m currently living and working in Philadelphia where I have my studio set up, and I bartend for extra cash.
Do you remember the first thing you made out of clay?
I took my first ceramics class Freshman year in high school. Freshman weren’t allowed in ceramics because they needed an Art I pre-requisite. My older sister talked to the ceramics instructor though and got me in since she was also taking the class. I think the first thing I ever made was a tile the whole class had to make for the art room wall, probably followed by a super lumpy pinch pot, haha. I didn’t love the class at first because it was a lot of hand building…it took a little while before we got to try the wheel. That’s when I got hooked.
What about ceramics do you love most?
I’ve sort of always been “artistic”, but when I started working with clay, I felt like I finally found a medium I could stick with and become good at. I love that the products are tactile and functional. Clay can also be very frustrating and unpredictable, so it teaches me patience and non-attachment.
I find clay very therapeutic to work with though. Working on the wheel is particularly meditative to me. In order to be steady and centered while throwing I have to be centered and grounded in my body, so the two sort of go hand in hand. Yoga helps me a lot with the whole process.
I also love the element of surprise clay delivers. There are lots of steps leading up to the final product, and so many variables that are constantly changing, particularly with glazing. I usually find my favorite glaze combos on accident. Opening up the glaze kiln is always so exciting but also nerve racking. Before that final moment, I’ve learned that you can’t get too attached to anything.
How would you describe your style?
A vibrant & experimental take on classic shapes.
What about life gets you the most excited to create? Where do you pull inspiration from?
I’ve been finding a lot of inspiration from my travels recently. I have been super lucky over the past few years with travel opportunities. I’ve been to Costa Rica, Morocco, Barcelona, Australia, & Puerto Rico. I love using color palettes inspired by the diverse nature I’ve seen, like sunsets and desert or jungle flora.
One of my favorite places recently was Morocco. I was totally mesmerized by the colors and shapes of the architecture. A ton of the buildings were this muted peach tone that looked like it had been painted over a hundred times and was chipping away. And then the next building would be bright green and blue and orange. The contrast was so good. I’m hoping to do a photo series with some parallel color palette / glaze & shape schemes soon.
My old work inspires my new work a lot too. Basically, if I try out a shape and like it, I experiment more and see where else I can take it. If I try something and I’m not super into it, I move on.
Besides ceramics, how else do you release your energy?
I practice yoga a lot which always helps with my creative process. Also throwing is pretty hard on your back and wrists so it helps physically too. I also love riding my bike with my dog!! He’s the best.
Between running a creative business, working part time, and having a social life, you seem to be the master of juggling one million different things. Any tips for the rest of us?
Unfortunately, my social life usually falls to the bottom of my list most days if I'm actually going to be productive haha, but I’m kinda a crazy list person. Sometimes its helpful and a lot of the times I just end up with too many lists that are half scribbled out. A lot of coffee helps.
I tend to sign up for way more than I can handle, because I want to do it all, but I’m working on honoring my time and making space for myself to breathe. I recently quit one of my jobs and feel SO much lighter now. I recommend quitting your shitty job if you have one and trying a little harder to find something you like! It’s definitely intimidating, but if you don’t go for it you’ll probably always be bummed that you didn’t try.
You’re setting up shop in Philadelphia. Where else have you lived, and what brought you back to Philly?
I have been all over!! Since I graduated from Temple in 2015, I’ve lived in New Jersey, Austin, and Brooklyn with a lot of traveling in between. I never expected to be back in Philly so soon, but found an amazing space to set up shop at a price I could actually afford. I kinda just dropped everything in Brooklyn and decided to go for it. I miss my friends/life in NYC a lot, and my friends who are all over the country/world now! But we visit and make time for each other when we can & they are super supportive which makes it a lot easier.
How’s your new studio treating you?
I’ve always wanted a live-work space to set up my studio so its pretty amazing to be living that dream!! It’s so nice to have everything I need right in my home. I’ve been a student/member at a bunch of other studios (Tyler School of Art, Kissimmee River Pottery, Laguna Gloria, BKLYN Clay, The Clay Studio etc.) for about 11 years. It’s nice that I have those past experiences to pull from and really set things up in a customized way for my work. So far so good—there is still a lot of work to do around the studio, but its getting better every day! And the support and interest in what I’m doing has been super exciting. I’ve already gotten some opportunities to work with really talented people, so I’m hoping to keep the momentum up!
3 things you couldn’t live with out?
smoothies, yoga, my friends/boyfriend/Rez
Are you a music blasting or podcast kinda person when in the studio?
Both! I am habitually a music blaster, but getting more into podcasts. I think podcasts help me concentrate and music helps me get in the creative zone.
Describe your ideal day:
Wake up and have a coffee & almond croissant, go to yoga, play with some clay, hang with my girls & have a BBQ with my boy for dinner :)