Like most high school grads, when Julianne Ahn enrolled at Rhode Island School of Design, she didn’t exactly have a plan as to where it would take her. But after graduating with a degree in textiles, she still didn’t really have a clue, so she headed back to class—this time at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago—where landed an MFA in fiber and materials studies.
“I graduated during 2007, and everyone was looking for the same job in Chicago,” she says. So she packed her bags and moved back to Philly to be with her parents. After a stint at Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (the emporium for awesome, artisanal goods), she took some time off to consider her next move. To help deal with the anxiety that came with not having that steady paycheck, Julianne enrolled in a wheel-throwing class—a sort of clay-as-stress-ball approach.
But she was so taken with it that her coping mechanism became an answer in and of itself: She launched Object & Totem in 2011 and has been creating modern, rustic ceramics ever since. “It’s very haphazard. You have to throw yourself into it,” Julianne says. “Working with clay definitely keeps me in the present.” –olivia seely
BEHIND THE SCENES
The heat is on.
The ultra laidback designer says “I do” to a simple—but way-cool—event.