Everyday Minerals Spotlight: Meet Caroline
Hello! Tell us a bit about you & your unique story.
My name is Caroline DeFelice and I’m a 25 year old ceramicist and sculptor from Coastal New Jersey. I’ve been an artist my whole life — bouncing between various mediums such as painting, design, and photography. With clay - my love for the material was rekindled during a semester-long ceramics course at SJU in Philly with an incredible artist and teacher, Patrick Coughlin. I was hooked - and took classes on and off at community studios in NJ, until my own studio space came to fruition at the end of 2020.
Your work is absolutely beautiful!!! As a creative, how do you go about seeking inspiration?!
Thank you so much :) For me, seeking inspiration was something I had to reframe. As someone who has perfectionistic tendencies, I found I would feel stagnant, pressured, and gross when I tried to force a flow of inspiration, or pull too literally from a subject or object.
My new practice has been to sit still with hands upturned. I try to allow inspiration to land lightly within my palm like a butterfly, being careful not to suffocate it or damage its wings. I’ve learned that “the muse”/ “inspiration”/ “creative flow” is a much larger, breathing entity we have a dialogue with as artists — rather than just a means to an end.
That being said, I rely heavily on my yoga practice (specifically yin) and “artist dates”, or time that I set aside to visit spaces that fill up my spiritual tank. The top three spots on my current rotation are Sandy Hook National Park, Salvage Angel by the Sea, and Deep Cut Gardens.
Do you ever go through phases where you may feel uninspired? If so, how do you handle this?
Absolutely - we all do. It is inherently human, and a major sign to slow down and clear out our vessel; body, mind and spirit.
A lot of the time, a feeling of being “stuck” arises for me due to pain within my physical body. I have been working with incredible healers for the past four years, to manage my chronic pain condition and grow as a woman. Dr. Liza Cherubini, Dr. Catherine Craig, Kayla Hadfield (LMT), and others have lent their incredible gift of healing to help me process difficult emotions, stagnancy, and move forward with a renewed connection to myself.
Loving kindness + compassion are very important pillars when moving through challenges, both creatively and within our personal lives.
What are the MAJOR lessons you've learned through the years, while becoming the woman you identify with today?
There are three major themes that I can attribute my recent growth to.
One, being honest with yourself when the career and the people around you are not resonating. Removing myself from spaces that were invalidating + negative freed up more of my energy to heal and create, and ultimately build the foundation of my independent art studio.
The second is turning inward and dedicating energy to facing the uncomfortable - whether it be in therapy, through journaling practices, or any other healing modalities that work for you! In the past few years, my “uncomfortable” has been uprooting negative self-talk and fear. My process is asking why these habits are here, what they helped me cope with or achieve in the past, and how I can let them go so as to move forward in the future.
Finally, and arguably most importantly, support systems. We hear this alot— sure – but personal success cannot be celebrated without a respectful, grateful nod to the root system that is family, friends, and community. My parents, Paul & Maureen, and my siblings, PJ & Katherine, are my backbone. They taught me what selfless love is, and have given me the most incredible foundation to build my career upon.
My boyfriend Deaglan inspires me to grow everyday as an artist and person. Words fall short when trying to capture all that he’s done for my life in the past three years, but I’ll keep it short and sweet with 1) he has helped me tremendously to believe in myself and my work 2) has never let me go a day without great music.
Goals for this year?
I’ve been taking a bunch of classes to deepen my understanding of this art form — it’s a vast ocean of chemistry, technique, and timing. I’m in a course right now where I’m learning to create my own glazes. I’m excited to use them on the different sculptural forms I’ve been developing this winter.
I hope to be able to produce more on a monthly basis - upscaling is tough when it’s all such a time intensive process! I’ve been aiming to stock my work in local shops, but haven’t had enough just yet. So hopefully in 2022 I’ll find a way to multiply my hands.
Where can everyone find your work & support you as an artist?
What would you say is the main motivator for the career path you've chosen?
Clay is my calling - and something that was almost impossible to ignore. It leaves my hands aching and tired, dry and cracked, but makes me feel so entirely whole. I’ve been teaching private lessons as of this past Fall, and sharing the craft has been incredibly fulfilling — I love being there for someone’s first experience with clay, and watching the gears turn as they get on the wheel. It’s nothing short of magic to watch someone create something gorgeous and personal from a ball of mud.
I’m always looking to connect with other people - so sharing my artwork, as well as my energy in the form of teaching lessons, has been a great motivator.
How would you define your 'Soul's Purpose'?
There are two main aspects of my life that drive me forward and act as “North Stars” — human connection + creativity. There’s always been a trail of crumbs with art, but clay specifically has been a highway. When I started to really lean into the artform, I realized it was an express lane to my life’s work. It allows me to connect with other people, of varying ages and backgrounds, near and far.
On the flip side of the same coin, creativity is a huge part of my Soul’s Purpose. As someone who is extremely sensitive to energy and other people’s emotions, creativity allows me to channel, make sense of the stories, heartache, and joy that surrounds me. There’s a lifetime of this to explore - and ceramics is the language that feels like home.
SHOP WHAT'S IN CAROLINE'S BEAUTY WARDROBE: