Whiskey + Clay ceramics are made in Santa Fe, NM —

Inspired by the Southwest sky and earth, the collection blends porcelain with stoneware, giving each piece a timeless desert texture and sensibility. We keep a selection of the pieces in-store at Gjusta Goods, each made by hand from artist Kimmy Rohrs.

To learn more about Kimmy's work, how the sparse landscape inspires her pieces, and her journey to becoming a ceramicist.

Can you share your story with us? What is your background?

I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay with a mother who loved movement and a father who never stopped tinkering. Anytime an object broke we would sit at the table together and spend hours taking it apart and rebuilding it. Staplers, cameras, etc.

I went to college in the Shenandoah Valley for economics & philosophy. Art as a career was so far from my radar — my job after college was at a small tech company back in Maryland crunching numbers & answering a million emails a day. It was not the most fulfilling hands-on career I had hoped, but I felt like I had to put in my time and start somewhere.

When did you start developing your practice, and how did you start working with clay as a medium?

My clay story starts with a heartbreak and chain-smoking, yet brilliant roommates. After a painful early 20s break up I felt a sense of emptiness, that I can reflect on now was perfect for creative cultivation. I was working the tech job, running miles all over downtown Annapolis, and living with two students from a local liberal arts college. Upon spotting my devastation they took me under their wing and brought me to my first ceramics class. I fell in love so hard: the tactical clay, the simultaneous feeling of control, and the absolute lack of it once a piece goes into the kiln, everything. It healed the wound in my heart and fed the tinkering side of my soul.

Fast forward some months, my job relocated me to Austin where I found a great studio to lean into my clay hobby further. I fell in love with a software engineer/burner who had all the pyrotechnics know-how for running a kiln, subsequently got kicked out of that studio for blending clay annnnddd built a perfect little home studio on the porch of my east Austin bungalow. Very soon we were cranking out porch pots, firing the very dangerous kiln we bought off Craigslist, and selling wares for fun all over the East side. I started really diving into pottery about a year after learning to throw. A few of my friends in Austin owned cafes, liquor stores, and cute shops. It was a quick evolution from the conversation “hey let's try using your mugs at the coffee counter” to regularly filling wholesale orders for these spots.

What inspires you to create these pieces, and what is your relationship to clay as a material?

I’m forever inspired by the sparse and windswept earth in the Southwest deserts. Specifically, the far West Texas area called Big Bend where it's easy to pretend you’re on Mars & among no other humans. My goal in my work is to mimic the latte colored earth and stark bright sun streaks. Clay for me serves as a vehicle for showcasing this inspiration. About a year ago a retired geologist came into my shop for some mugs and commented on how they reminded her of the earth she studied close during her career — the Big Bend region of Texas. I lost it! Tears of appreciation flowed and she went home with a couple free mugs.

When was the first time you experimented with marbling stoneware and porcelain, and what was that process like?

It got me kicked out of a studio! I knew I wanted to mix up clays and show the marbling as a sort of external palate rather than classic glaze. It was a ton of trial and error so I’m not surprised they asked me to leave the studio. Lots of inconsistent shrink rates which understandably are a risky move in the kiln. Finally I dialed in the right two clays who play well together and stay sealed.

What does working with clay mean to you?

Working with clay for me is a perfect solution to my strange mix of career desires: a need for working my hands, problem solving (incense holders can be such an exercise in physics skills), and a productivity that allows me to listen to music or engage in conversation while multitasking. Really though, it boils down to this: I feel lucky to be able to play with mud all day and make goofy shapes that people like to put in their home

What are your sources of inspiration, and where do you look for inspiration when creatively stuck?

My sources of inspiration come from my everyday life — the desert floor, rough old cracking adobe walls, wild southwest sunsets. When I'm creatively stuck I go for a run to move my body, usually in the scrub brushy desert outside of Santa Fe. If I knew plant names better I’d share some of the specific weeds that impact my pots - mostly dry desert grasses of white / brown shades.

Do you find that the landscape of the southwest influences your work and designs, and if so, in what ways?

I’m very influenced by my surroundings and especially the southwest. The way a dead cottonwood leaf can catch the sunlight and diffuse bright yellow, long stretches of empty highways among jagged mountains and golden sunset flooding the cliff faces; I try to capture these feelings with my work. Something special about the desolate sparse slow energy out here that I’d like to think can bleed into the current moment of someone sipping coffee from one of my mugs in a big city.

Do you have any new designs or techniques that you're working on at the moment that are exciting to you?

It's crazy to say but right now I don’t have any new designs I’m noodling on! I’d like to play around with more black stained porcelain in the future though. I marble black mason stain with super white porcelain in a similar way to my classic stoneware / porcelain blend. Hopefully, soon I can offer this clay body as an option for dinnerware items & flower vases.