“There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.”
On the Bern Ceramics Instagram page, local ceramicist Maureen Kennedy shares this adage from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Drawing inspiration from nature, New Orleans and an aptly named French bulldog Bernie, there is no denying that her positive outlook has played large in her fast journey from creative hobbyist to established artist. Most recently, Maureen’s dishware can be found at Cavan, the new Magazine Street culinary destination from LeBlanc + Smith.
Creating beautiful pieces in her backyard studio, she credits the support of friends and family for her fast-growing popularity.
“They’re my biggest advocates,” Maureen says. “My parents gifted me my first wheel, my brother oversaw installation of the kiln. They’re constantly encouraging my work, talking to people who buy the product at market.”
This personal touch and intimacy show through, bestowing each piece with a true one-of-a-kind feel. Starting with small catchalls and vases, Maureen created groomsmen’s cups and guest gifts for friends’ weddings. She shared her work via social media, and soon found a more far-reaching following.
“Kristen [Chef Essig] found my work on Instagram and Facebook,” says Maureen. “She was in early planning stages for Cavan, and reached out. We met, and I really connected to her vision.”
The resulting pieces utilize many of Maureen’s favorite shades and shapes: mattes and blues in water-inspired swirls.
“I’m drawn to simplicity and clean lines,” she adds. “With Cavan, I was able to match my style with Kristen’s goals. It was all about creating the desired ambience.”
With the increasing interest and demand, Maureen acquired her own kiln and is now dedicating more time to not only custom orders, but also items for market. She can be found most weekends at Little Flea NOLA, where she often collaborates with like-minded artisans, including Sarah Killen Ellman of Saint Claude and Lexi Bakar of Barebone Ceramics.
“I find that we complement one another,” says Maureen. “My catchalls paired with Sarah’s jewelry, with Lexi’s planters with succulents.”
Her love for collaboration and New Orleans extends beyond her art. Maureen is one of the core members of the all-female Sweet Swine O’Mine team, who recently participated in their sixth Hogs for the Cause fundraising competition. In addition, she shares her knowledge (and passion) as a behavior therapist for individuals with autism to projects with the NOLArts Learning Center, IDIYA and the Preservation Hall Foundation.
To learn more about Maureen’s work, visit BernCeramics.com and bern.ceramics on Instagram; or for custom inquiries, email email@example.com. The next Little Flea NOLA Market will take place on Saturday, April 16.