by Kristin Arzt

Maia Danks, the artist behind Octopus Ceramics, is the youngest vendor in GIFTY history. She started taking classes at The Crucible when she was just 14, and has been an artist for as long as she can remember. After taking every youth class from Glass Blowing to MIG Welding, Maia started taking adult classes with her mom. Her passion lies in pottery, which she has been doing since she was just six.

We are lucky to have Maia back as a vendor this year, since she just moved to Minnesota for her first year of college! We met up with Maia to learn about her love for cephalopods and find out what special projects she is working on for GIFTY.

Pro-tip: Last year she nearly sold out of mugs! Make sure you get to her GIFTY booth early!

You just started college! How is it so far?

It’s great! Minnesota is cold . . . but I am loving it so far. I want to double major in Biology and Studio Art, so I can get back on the wheel and keep up my ceramics practice.

What was your favorite class you took at The Crucible?

One summer, I took MIG Welding and Glass Blowing at the same time. I welded a fish frame, then took it to Glass Blowing where they helped me blow into it. The scales and tail all came through. 

That is literally a perfect combination of biology and studio art! You are really prolific with your work.

Yeah! Sometimes people think I’m representing a studio or I’m too young to have made all of my work. I just say, ‘My name is on the bottom!’ I have a little stamp that says ‘OC’ for Octopus Ceramics.

How did you decide on the name Octopus Ceramics?

I was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, so the circulation was cut off in my fingers and they stopped growing. I can still do everything from holding chopsticks to playing the piano. I chose the name because octopi have eight legs and I have eight fingers. And I have been scuba diving since I was ten, and just really love cephalopods and octopi.

Do you have any favorite memories from GIFTY last year?

The vendors in the booths around me knew it was my first craft show, so they were giving me tips the whole time! A lot of them had been vending since the start of GIFTY fifteen years ago, so it was super helpful. And I almost sold out of mugs! All except for three mugs sold last year. I just love the event. There is such a cool mix of vendors and shoppers. I got the coolest pair of laser-cut earrings from Bottle of Clouds last year.

What are you most excited about for GIFTY?

I am making ceramic ornaments this year! I throw them on the wheel then carve them. I don’t have any pictures yet, so you will have to see them in person!

How can we find your booth at GIFTY?

You can find me at Booth 12, just outside of Enameling and Jewelry.

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