Hadiya- Black Pepper Paperie | Makers Series

Happy Makers Monday and welcome to July!

It’s been 2 months since the start of the Makers Series and we have been rolling! Today I am thrilled to introduce you to an amazingly talented maker that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for the past 8 years- Hadiya Williams of Black Pepper Paperie!

After meeting at an event in 2011, Hadiya and I worked together several times over the years- photographing her best friend’s wedding, working together on a styled shoot, photographing various creative projects, and most recently, we were both contributors to our friend Andrea’s book, We Inspire Me! That was a cool full circle moment because it was at Andrea’s event where we first met in 2011!

Hadiya is legit one of the most talented people I know. I am always inspired by how she effortlessly brings art to life using many different mediums, with a consistent eye for beautiful bold design. Keeping up with her work over the years has made me so happy!

I’m very thankful that she was able to share a moment of her time so that we could learn a bit more about her creative process 🖤

I hope you enjoy getting to know Hadiya!


With your background in graphic design and art direction, how did the shift to clayware take place?

When I was in design school, I was always inspired by handwork- letterpress, woodwork, printmaking, etc. There was something extra special about tactile design/craft work. Like it hits on all senses as opposed to modern day graphic design which is heavily computer-based. I realize now, that it was inevitable that I would end up working with my hands, but I would have guessed it would be some form of printmaking.

After going to the American Craft Council Show in 2015, I developed a deeper appreciation for the art of handmade ceramics. I started collecting pieces whenever I came across something interesting. In Feb 2017, I took a 2-hour wheel-throwing workshop with a friend for fun. I had no goal outside of having fun and trying out a new craft. Afterward, I wanted to continue learning but in the comfort of my home since it was winter. I discovered polymer clay and youtube and started creating and sharing.

The whole process was pretty organic and unexpected. I took a couple of ceramic classes and now I primarily work with ceramic clay. I currently own a small kiln and I’m also a community artist at District Clay Center.

You have a beautifully intuitive method of creating, how do you ensure that your environment is conducive to creativity?

Thank you. I pride myself on leaning heavily on my intuition to create. I feel like some of my best work comes from just getting in there and making. My biggest MUST for my environment is lots of light. Anywhere that I live or work has to have a lot of natural light. I need that connection to natural light source, whether its sunlight, daylight, or moonlight. Outside of that, a clean surface is always helpful. I can be a bit messy so when I clear my surface, it tends to inspire me to create.

Walk us through the creation process. What does it look like from idea to final product for one of your clayware pieces?

I typically create a lot of pieces at once. Break out a piece of the clay, wedge it and roll out a slap to cut. Then I get my cookie cutters and start cutting out shapes. I just go for it until I have a variety of shapes for earrings, neck pieces, combs, etc. Smooth out the rough edges, let them dry out completely. Bisque fire, then glaze and fire again. The glazing is fun and stressful at times. I tend to like surprising myself with the end result for some pieces. Then once they are out of the kiln, I add the painted elements and spray with ceramic varnish.

This process is relative but for the most part it’s a pretty standard process for my jewelry. I like to let each individual piece “dictate” the design. I just intuitively start painting designs on them. Sometimes, I let them be. There have been times where I sketch out my designs and shapes but for the most part I am working on the fly.

You have a piece that's being really difficult and not turning out as you'd hoped... How do you reset?

The reset can be a shift in my expectation of the end result. Even if I sketch something first, I am open to what the organic process allows. Being able to embrace the mistakes makes it easier to be flexible and to improvise. If time allows, sometimes it’s just best to start over.

What's the most fulfilling aspect of owning your own creative business?

Being able to create pieces that bring others joy.

As a creative, sometimes motivation can ebb and flow. What slows you down and how do you overcome it?

I tend to procrastinate when I let the details overwhelm me. That definitely slows me down. Even though I know better, I still try to keep things in my head. When I actually take the time to write things out, whether it’s a schedule, a to-do list, etc., it frees up some serious mental space. It always gives a clearer perspective which reduces the anxiety.


What's been your favorite entrepreneurial highlight so far?

Getting the LLC for my business. When I received my documents, it reminded me that I was building something bigger than I’d imagined.


What's the most important thing you've learned so far about yourself as a maker?

I have learned that I prefer not to create the same piece twice. I love the idea of each piece being one-of-kind. I find myself trying to combat that in the effort to make my business more scalable and to follow advice from others but I realize that the joy is in seeing the array of designs and knowing that each piece is it’s own work of art.

That was dope, right? I’m so happy you guys were able to learn a little more about my friend, Hadiya! Let me know what you thought of her feature!

Now, the only thing missing is some Black Pepper Paperie in your life :)

Keep up with Hadiya online: Visit her websites: https://www.blackpepperpaperie.com/ and https://www.hadiyawilliams.com/, and give her a follow on instagram @blackpepperpaperieco and @hadiyawilliams, on facebook, and on twitter.

In DC, NY, or NOLA? Pick up some of her handmade goods in person: https://www.blackpepperpaperie.com/shoplocal

Miss the first 4 makers features? Check them out here!

Want a makers photo session for yourself? Check out the details in this newly announced service 🖤

Stay tuned for the next Makers Monday feature on July 15!