Ceramic artist Emily Reinhardt discusses her journey from art student at Kansas State University to business owner and entrepreneur
Fresh out of college and looking to get her start in the “real world,” artist Emily Reinhardt started a blog called The Object Enthusiast while living in Omaha. Before moving back to her hometown of Kansas City, Reinhardt opened her own Etsy shop, where she sold the ceramic objects she learned to make at Kansas State University. Since then, The Object Enthusiast has become its own brand, known for the artist’s one-of-a-kind pieces from ring dishes to plates and serveware.
KCS: Did you always know that you wanted to own your own business?
ER: I graduated from college in 2010, and that was kind of Etsy’s big moment. None of my teachers told me this was possible, probably because they didn’t know it was possible. In school it was either go to graduate school and become a teacher, or get lucky with a nine-to-five job at an art gallery. No one ever said, “You can make and sell your work as your career.” It didn’t feel like something that was attainable.
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KCS: Most of your work includes metallic elements. How did that become your signature?
ER: I’ve used the gold since I started. I had this one piece of pottery that I made early in my schooling, and it was probably the best piece I had made at the time. Then I glazed it, and the glaze just totally ruined it. It was so ugly—but I kept it for a long time because I wanted to find a way to make it cool still. That’s where the gold came in; it was a way for me to cover up the glaze.
KCS: What inspires you to create new pieces?
ER: If I’m able, I like to take a trip. Travel helps. I have a lot of other friends across the country who make ceramics, so if I need a getaway, I’ll go visit them and their studios. I like to be around other ceramic artists. There are ten ways to get to the same result, so it’s nice to connect to other artists who know what I don’t know.
KCS: What’s in store for The Object Enthusiast?
ER: I’m trying to evolve into a brand beyond just ceramics. In my online shop, I stock textiles, pillows, home goods, and candles, so I’m trying to grow. Someday I’d love to have a brick and mortar shop selling home goods. I don’t ever want to not make ceramics, but I would like to evolve the brand into a lifestyle, home goods destination.
Dinner is Served
“They reached out to me when they were starting the build-out of the restaurant, and I did three different plates for them,” Reinhardt says. “They were very involved in the design.”
The dishes are used to serve the creations of high-profile chef Michael Corvino, who personally plates them in front of an intimate group of one to four guests.
“I was very flattered that they thought of me for it, and it was a nice challenge,” Reinhardt says. “It was my first project like that, so it was nice to stretch that way.”
You can see Reinhardt’s creations in person by making a reservation for the restaurant’s tasting room at corvinokc.tocktix.com.