Asa & Daisy Maestas | Episode 664
Asa Maestas found clay in high school in Santa Cruz, CA. Daisy Maestas found clay in a small college in Michigan and it forever changed the trajectory of their lives. Asa and Daisy met while pursuing their passion for clay in Phoenix, AZ. Now, they collaborate in clay and life as the King and the Flower. They focus on creating intricately hand carved functional ware as well as miniature pottery. Married in 2016, Asa and Daisy seek to enhance their skills with clay, share their love for the art and reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
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Do you ever find the competition between the two of you to be real?
Daisy: So I have a lot to say about this. (laughter) Let’s start with, so Asa throws big, right? He didn’t always throw big and one day I was sitting at the wheel and I was trying to see how big I could throw. This was a few years back
Asa: I knew you were going to tell this story.
Daisy: So I started throwing like nine pounds, ten pounds, and getting bigger and bigger. And every time I would throw something a certain size he would get a pound bigger than me or a half a pound bigger than me. He would do it just to show me that he could, you know. And it really bothered me. And I think that is kind of one of the reasons I went back to doing minis, but it also shows Asa’s personality. He’s super competitive, I’m not. So for me, for awhile, I was a little bit hurt by it and I think it took a good portion of a year because he was going to community college full time and throwing and I’m teaching. And teaching is exhausting. So sometimes I don’t get to put in that time or I don’t want to because I am already drained and he’s putting in all this time and I know he’s better than me as a potter. At that time it just killed my artistic spirit. And I just had to get to a point where it didn’t matter because number one, we’re married. So his success is our success. And the success that our business has is for our family. We want this to be a family business, we want to see our kids growing up throwing clay around, we want that. So it doesn’t matter to me anymore.
How about you Asa?
Asa: So I think my competitive nature, I didn’t realize that it hurt her, necessarily. I more try to play that way. I have three older brothers and I grew up kind of rough housing and competing in a playful way. So there is one time in particular that I can think of, she sat down with ten pounds clay and we are at Desert Dragon Studio when we were doing that and there was ten wheels and all of them are open. So she sits down with ten pounds of clay and then I grab eleven and a half pounds and sit on the wheel right next to her and just kind of stare at her as I try to center it and then throw it just inches bigger than hers. Not even that much bigger, really trying to just poke her and kind of tease her. Because I think we were already dating at that point. But it was more just playful and I think that kind of sums up how some of our trials in our marriage have been. That I am trying to be playful and I don’t realize that..
Daisy: I don’t play like that.
Asa: Yeah. It’s like, you know what, I’m about six foot, maybe six one and she’s about five three, and it’s very different family cultures. So mine is kind of loud, very warm, very inviting, but also very loud. And hers is kind of quiet and very loving and inwardly affectionate and very comforting. So me trying to play in this kind of rough and tumble way, I guess I kind of hurt her feelings and dampened her spirit for artistry for a bit. But it is something that I have worked on and not really tried to do that. I think it is something that she has understood that I am not doing that to offend her but trying to inspire you to play back and put yourself harder.
When it comes to working together in a studio, there are two different dynamics. When we are working in a public studio that has twenty members, that’s a little different than our current dynamic where our spare bedroom in our little two bedroom condo is our pottery studio. The dynamic now is we really see ourselves as a team, not as two individual artists.
I’m curious how you two see yourselves complementing each other in the studio?
Daisy: I think a big part of it is that attention to detail. Like going in and looking at those bottoms and those handles. I think that’s kind of where I really focus. I really do think that the area where I bring into the table most is probably the media aspect. I know I am not perfect and I am still learning but I value that aspect of our work so much. I have told my students lately, You have to know how to photograph your work. So that it shows off what you are making. Because if you don’t then no one is going to see it. And I think of the same thing for our work.
Asa: Like Daisy said, I think she focuses on the media and the administrative part. She also makes really awesome minis and she throws cups for me to carve sometimes and that’s great. But I think for myself more as the heavy lifter. I lift the cases of clay because they are fifty pounds, but recycling clay sometimes and I can sit down and throw for six or seven hours and I’ll be happy doing that. Daisy has some back problems where she just can’t do that and I’m happy to do that. I love throwing and I don’t really like some of the media detail aspects that really make this work. So I kind of see myself as the heavy lifter and I kind of see Daisy as more of the fine tuner and basically the gateway that makes my heavy lifting even a possibility.
How do you see the growth of your family business dreams?
Asa: I see the growth right now as slow and steady but deliberate. Consistency moves mountains. You just keep digging and keep pushing and it will move. You just having us on your podcast in an amazing opportunity for us and we recognize that. And we are really glad to be able to share our story and to get our name out there a little bit more. But it doesn’t change that we just need to keep making and make opportunities for people to see our stuff and have them build a connection with us. I think it’s just slow and steady and keep plucking at it.
Daisy: Yeah, I agree. I think consistency is what is going to get us there. I think that the work that we are producing now is getting better and better. The quality is improving with every piece. A few years back we were making pottery pretty consistently and we were gaining some traction and all of a sudden we just dropped the ball. It happened around the time when Asa picked up a new job and I started doing ceramics as a teacher and it just stopped everything. You can see that there is a small shift in our business. And after Jeremiah, our son, was born, it gave us a different purpose and made us consider what our priorities are. I think when that happened we really wanted this to be part of our family and part of our life.
What is your favorite date night now that you have a little person in the house?
Asa: I think a good date night would be when he’s with grandma and grandpa and we get to go get some sushi and ramen and maybe have a beer. And then just kind of talk and hang out like we did before we were parents. I love having a baby but he definitely puts a certain tension on our relationship. It’s not the same, there’s not that carefree feeling like there was before. He’s tied us together in a very real way where we are bonded by a child but now when he can be looked after and we get to say, I still choose you. I think it’s very beneficial and it’s a great date night.
Daisy: Sounds good to me.