Kelley Burnett is a ceramicist whose ease and warmth are instantly translated through the simplicity of her home and pottery. Her functional creations seamlessly blend into her shady, plant filled home. Shared with her writer husband Dylan and their pup Otto, their space is ideal amidst such a sprawling city, providing immediate relief from the high energy of Los Angeles’ east side. Over coffee on a warm Sunday, the couple show us their home and Kelley sheds some light on the LA creative landscape.

Their space is ideal amidst such a sprawling city, providing immediate relief from the high energy of Los Angeles’ east side.

What began your love and connection to pottery?

I’ve puzzled over this for a long time! I can’t remember what made me enroll in my first ceramics class in college, I guess aside from curiosity. I didn’t grow up in a creative or art-filled home at all, but I always wanted to draw or make things with my hands. We didn’t have a television, so I spent summers outside picking flowers and arranging them, or working in the garden. Maybe getting into pottery was the most tactile practice I could find.

More recently, I’ve realized the connection to pottery and the pieces I make certainly has been synonymous with my interest in plants and the natural world. I’ve always found myself with collections of small things, like pebbles, so making pottery was a way to create those myself.
I’ve also found that, especially when moving the last couple years, ceramic studios have been guides to the city I’m in; they are usually full of kind and helpful people, many of whom you may not have crossed paths with otherwise.

Beyond that, working with clay forces you not to take yourself too seriously, and certainly not to rush the process. It has ways of teaching and showing you to slow down and do it right. I was a terrible potter when I first learned. Something pushed me to stick with it, and after a few years of practice it began to feel like a part of my view of the world and existing.

Your home feels very thoughtful. How would you describe your approach to interiors?

We really try not acquire too many things, or things that can only exist well in this one space. I suppose though, we don’t tend to count books or ceramics as things.

In general, pieces that can disassemble or are made from hardware store supplies have served us so well. We’ve also moved a lot, which has given us the opportunity to acquire things slowly, and only bring in things we really have space or need for. A lot of the thoughtful feel may have been born out of necessity, we just didn’t want to move things that we’d end up having to disperse later.

Dylan and I also work a lot from our home, so it needs to be a place that can be shared by two creatives at work, but also at rest. He feels most comfortable and productive surrounded by books, moored by his big wooden desk. I feel most comfortable and productive when there’s empty space and a sense of sparseness. We’ve tried to balance this for the both of us.

Can you describe your ideal morning?

Because Dylan works at a bookstore some evenings, we try to make sure we get a few calm moments together in the morning. Ideally, this is: walking our dog, Otto, coffee, and breakfast. Usually then I work outside on the patio with the window open, and Dylan works at his desk. Otto likes to either bark or sleep near whoever is more interesting that day.

How do you ease into the evening?

Nothing much more than a glass of wine and quiet, Dylan reads every night before sleeping, even if it’s just one page.

What’s your studio soundtrack?

I’ve discovered the best part about the patio studio is that I don’t have to choose, Dylan picks the records! Right now, a lot of jazz albums from the 50’s and 60’s. And truthfully, that soundtrack is layered with barks from all the neighborhood dogs, including ours.

Feature for In Bed with words by Serafina LoGiacco