Debbie Carlos crisscrossed the world in her early years. She was born in L.A., she grew up in Manila, and then she went off to Clark University in Massachusetts to study psychology. Later, her interest in photography led her to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she also started dabbling in more hands-on mediums like pottery. “The thing I liked about SAIC was that you don’t have to have a major—you just have to fulfill studio hours,” Debbie remembers. Still, photography was her main focus until a few years after when she took a one-day class and fell back in love with clayin’ around.
Debbie started turning out tons of new pieces, really just for fun. But her Instagrams of works in progress created a surprising (to her!) amount of demand. “People would DM me asking if they could buy stuff, so it was always super casual,” she says. “Then I started to do markets and realized that people really were interested and I should start selling pieces for real!” She officially launched a small collection of face-patterned plates, ridged mugs, and squiggly soap dishes in fall 2016. These days, you can find her hopping between her separate ceramics and photography studios in Chicago, finding plenty of creative energy from staying put.
Photo by Eat Pomegranate Photography