Japanese-Californian Fusion Meets Ceramics & Prints
Sarah Jura creates ceramics and illustrations inspired by her current home, California and her love for Japanese aesthetics and culture. Her hand-built small batch ceramics use slab and coil techniques, which give a unique finish to every piece.
Tell us about Sun to Sea. Sun to Sea is inspired by my current home of California and my love for Japan and its aesthetic and culture. They have natural geographical similarities and distinct styles. I was inspired to blend the two aesthetics in both ceramic and illustrated forms resulting in a simple, imperfect, and warm collection.
The name Sun to Sea embodies nature and connection. California is famous for its natural beauty and sunsets over the Pacific Ocean which it shares with Japan. To me, this name naturally represents the blending of both landscapes and aesthetics.
How did Sun to Sea come about? Sun to Sea has its roots in the 100 Day Project of illustrations that I did a few years back. I was working full-time as a digital product designer and I was looking for a purpose to draw and create again. A few of the illustrations turned into cards and prints which caught the eye of some retailers. Meanwhile, a trip to New Mexico inspired me to take ceramic classes which I hadn’t done since high school. It slowly evolved from a few projects for fun, to my first commission from The Joshua Tree House, to my Etsy shop and brand. I also work with clients on rebranding, web design, and digital product design through my full-service design studio.
Tell us about the thinking behind your designs. I don’t strive for perfection, but instead embrace the imperfection. The popular Japanese concept of wabi-sabi sees beauty in the imperfect. My current ceramic collection is all hand built in small batches using slab and coil techniques. Clay has memory and with handbuilding in particular there are slight differences in every piece. Forming the edge of a tray or attaching a coil by hand gives each piece a unique, handmade look. Even firing the pieces on different sides of the gas kill can give the glaze or clay a slightly different finish.
Could you share any advice that has helped you along the way? Some of the best advice for creatives that continues to help me is that the process is the inspiration. The only way to get past a blank canvas is to start doing. For me, getting back into my creativity started with the 100 Day Project where I was pushed to create something new every day for 100 days. That sort of discipline forced me to stay present and to not overthink while I create, but instead just try things and experiment to discover something new. That’s something I work on practicing every day.
What’s next for Sun to Sea? I’ll continue to expand my ceramic offerings to more robust collections for artists and home, including a Japanese tableware collection. The environment is very important to me, and I’ve recently improved my ceramic packaging to be plastic-free. Since I get to mold earth and sell it, it’s only fair that I give back to the earth. I’ve recently started donating 10% of ceramic sales to The Conservation Fund, a U.S. environmental non-profit focused on conservation and communities. They create pathways for people and organizations to protect their natural resources and save places with ecological, historical, or cultural significance.
I’m always searching for modern kid’s clothing for my son, Westen which has inspired me to create a kid’s collection. The collection will include modern illustrations and patterns on tees and leggings to start and I’m planning on launching it next Spring.
Once it’s safe to travel internationally again, we’ll be planning another trip to Japan. One of my long-term goals has been to curate unique items from Japan like ceramics, art supplies, and textiles to sell in my online shop alongside my own pieces.