Article 4 - AMT Ceramics’ Artist Feature: Kaye Capistrano (Putikcat)

Article 4 - AMT Ceramics’ Artist Feature: Kaye Capistrano (Putikcat)

AMT Ceramics’ Artist Feature: Kaye Capistrano (Putikcat) 


In anticipation of Women’s Month, AMT Ceramics celebrates emerging Filipina pottery artist - Kaye Capistrano, better known as Putikcat!

Before getting into pottery, Kaye was a Fine Arts - Advertising alumni from the University of the East, Caloocan, and worked in the industry for six years, focusing on photography and video editing.

Now, she not only is learning pottery at our studio but is also teaching it as our very own Wheel-Throwing instructor, while undergoing her studio apprenticeship and training.

She’s busy between work and projects but we managed to catch a little bit of her time. Read on as we get to know Putikcat, her journey, craft, and dreams in pottery.

Kaye Capistrano


Q:  We know curiosity killed the cat, but what’s the story behind “Putikcat”?

PUTIKCAT: “Putikcat” is a play on words that my partner and I just thought of, when we were exploring different names. It sounded playful and resonated with me, especially with my love for cats… and pottery! 

I don’t remember who exactly said it, but when that word came out, we looked at each other and slowly nodded, a grin on both our faces. “Eto na yuuuun!


Q:  And indeed, yun na nga! How and when did you start your pottery journey?

PUTIKCAT: After moving into a new apartment, we had an empty room that was supposed to be my photography studio. I was planning to pursue my freelance job as a brand photographer. But months passed, and I was still struggling and had produced nothing - I was in a creative rut. 

I’ve always had this feeling that I wanted to do something else. While I was ruminating in that room, I thought of something that I’d always wanted to try: pottery. 

May 2022 was when I decided to enroll in a full-course wheel-throwing workshop. I fell in love! This was the spark that I had lost - to create things with my hands. I got so into it that even though I was still in that course, I had already bought my own wheel. 

Little by little, that empty room became my pottery playroom. I have never stopped practicing ever since!


Q: Well, speaking of that certain workshop, how did you hear about AMT Ceramics?

PUTIKCAT: It’s a funny story, actually! I was just looking for a firing service when I stumbled upon @amtceramics on Instagram. 

When I went to the studio, Alfred (AM Trajeco) and I talked for a while, and then he mentioned he was looking for an apprentice. The next day, after my pieces got fired, I presented myself for the apprenticeship!

I would have never thought how that day would turn out to be a new chapter in my pottery journey.


Q: That was the perfect opportunity, then! How’s your AMT apprenticeship going?

PUTIKCAT: It’s golden! Most of what I know now about ceramics is because of my apprenticeship with Alfred. Before joining the team, the only thing I knew about pottery was throwing on the wheel and some bits and pieces around the studio like reclaiming clay, etc. I’d explore things on my own, but I have no idea if what I do is right or not. 

Now, I am more knowledgeable and experienced especially in operating the kiln and firing. I can say that I am much more confident now in my skills since I got this opportunity.

I’ve also met a lot of people and made new friends here. I really love the little community we have at AMT. Everyone is so nice! We all exchange some knowledge and life experiences and I’m forever grateful that I get to be a part of it. This is one of the things I missed since I decided to work solo 5 years ago.


Q: What was the most valuable thing you learned during your apprenticeship?

PUTIKCAT:I think the most valuable thing I learned in my apprenticeship is to not get too attached, especially with things or situations that can’t be controlled. 

There are times here at the studio that casualties can’t be avoided. And sometimes, especially during firing, things can go unpredictable even when you have everything right on paper. Alfred would always say “Okay lang yan, nangyayari talaga yan.” Comforting yet this is also the time for me to reflect on the things that I would do better next time. Time to move on!


Q: And things are moving forward for you, as well. How does it feel that you’re also an instructor now?

PUTIKCAT: Anxious yet excited! At first, I really didn’t want to be an instructor. I never thought that I would have the confidence to teach. 

But now, I am excited to share techniques with someone new to pottery. I can see myself sometimes in them when I was just starting. The best part is that I also learn while I teach!


Q: You’ve definitely come a long way. How would you describe your ceramic style, right now?

PUTIKCAT: Simple, functional, sustainable, and playful. These are some of the words that I always keep in mind when I think of style and when I do the work.


Q: Well we’d like to know the muses behind your creations. Who are your biggest artistic influences? What do you love about their work?

PUTIKCAT: This question made me beat my brains out especially since there are so many great artists that I look up to. 

I have various artistic influences but for the ceramic artists, Kim Le, Allison Wong, Esme, and my recent discovery, Lucie Rie are some that spring to mind. They all have these elegant and precise works that I admire and try to achieve. 

Rick Rubin is also someone who is a big artistic influence for me. His emphasis on being simple, authentic to oneself, and finding the “source” have been some of the pillars of my works. His book, The Creative Act, is my creative bible. It’s funny that lot of situations when I get into a rut, I flip a page and find the answer to my problem. 

Another one who made a huge impact on me when I was starting was Rachel Saunders. I love how she connects with her inner being and how transparent she is in sharing her vulnerability with her audience; how she is so intentional and personal about what she puts out into the world. That inspires me in so many ways. In fact, I even got a tattoo of her doodle vase! 

But still, nature takes the top spot for artistic influences, for me.

 


Q: Take us through your routine. What does a day in your studio look like?

PUTIKCAT: I typically begin my day at the studio around 8 AM. It's usually a slow morning, planning the day ahead. I always bring with me my 2.5L of water and a cup of coffee. 

Before diving into work, organizing and tidying up the space first is a must. This sets the energy and provides me the freedom to create especially knowing it will be messy again afterward! 

My studio is on the 3rd floor of our house. It’s usually hot but I love it most during the afternoon. It’s an extra special day for me when I catch the sunset reflecting through our neighboring windows. The colors and the light always fascinate me and would stop me from doing anything for a minute. It’s like a reminder for me to take a breath, enjoy, and be in the moment. 

If I get a little sleepy, I would play a podcast or music (sometimes grabbing one of my cats for an unsolicited dance session), or just indulge in another cup of coffee. 

Most of the time I have at least one companion. I guess that’s one of the perks of having 5 cats.


Q: Aww, that sounds lovely! We know you can’t tell us who your favorite cat is but… how about your favorite project (so far)?

PUTIKCAT: My commission work for the Sakura ramen bowls is by far, my favorite one. With this project, I was able to explore shapes and try different techniques. 

Took me about a month for R&D and another month for production, but I learned so much. One more firing and it’s done. Still a bit anxious, but I'm super excited to see the result!


Q: We’re excited, too! Any dream projects you wish to accomplish in the future?

PUTIKCAT: One of my dream projects right now is to team up with chefs and see my work with their food! I’d love to collaborate with them on how to present their dishes and align my ceramic works with the artistic vision of their food.


And there you have it, that concludes our little Q&A with Putikcat. Thank you for giving us time out of your busy schedule, Kaye.

To all fellow Putikcat fans, let’s keep an eye on her website, putikcat.com, for the next few weeks. According to a reliable source (cough, Putikcat herself), we’re anticipating a mini-drop around mid-March! We’re especially looking forward to her abstract pinch-cup making its return to the digital shelves.

Good work and good luck, Putikcat! Your AMTeam family wishes you love and success on your pottery journey. We’re always rooting for you.

 

Questions prepared by Diana Utlang

Edited by Nixx de Guzman

Written by Kaye Capistrano

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