When I got engaged, my wedding registry quickly became a shrine to blue-and-white china—a phenomenon my Texan fiancé did not understand. “It’s just a Southern thing,” I explained. So when Meraki Pottery debuted at Indie Craft Parade last year, it’s little surprise that the porcelain dishes with their elegant cobalt-colored etchings caught my eye. And yet Trina Piercy, the Meraki Pottery mastermind, is not from the South. She’s Australian, and didn’t know blue-and-white was “a thing” when she moved here from Brisbane to attend Bob Jones University.
“I grew up antiquing, so I was really inspired by Delft,” Trina explains of the vintage Dutch pottery style. “I’ve always been drawn to it.”
A quick scroll through Meraki’s Instagram page reveals a beautiful ode to the quintessential color scheme. The mugs, featuring architectural snapshots from different cities across the world, along with the floral bowls, tumblers, and butter dishes, nod to the traditional Delftware design, but with Trina’s own personal, well, spin.
Her penchant for the arts began early, as she says, “I was drawing on my bed, on the walls, on my school books.” At 16 she started designing logos for Australian companies, but soon realized that creating for another’s vision was not for her. In college she pursued counseling, although she couldn’t resist adding a ceramics class on the side. She enjoyed it so much that she signed up again the following semester.
“As soon as I was in pottery I was having fun, but I was like, ‘How do I draw [on it]?’” She tried painting and carving on pieces, but it was difficult for the self-titled perfectionist to be as precise as she wanted. Eventually she settled on a fine-tip applicator filled with under-glaze, which she now applies on her wares before bisque firing. “It’s a little more risky because the mug is incredibly fragile,” Trina says. “But if I do all the drawings then, I can fix errors.”
Trina began illustrating cityscapes as a personal experiment, inspired by beloved places in Australia. An avid photographer, she pulls scenes from her images, draws them on her tablet, then hangs the prints in her studio to study. Eventually the designs are delicately transferred to mugs, a process that can take an entire day.
“I watch a lot of Netflix,” she says, laughing. After her drawings are finalized, the mugs are fired, glazed, and fired again. White lightning, the clay body she works with, is particularly fragile, and there’s always a risk something will break.
“Potters are very good at handling loss,” Trina says. “At the same time, it’s so satisfying when it does come together. Every time you open the kiln and it’s a good firing, it’s that feeling you get when you’re a kid and you open presents under the tree. It feels like Christmas.”
After college, Trina moved with her husband, Stephen, to Suffolk, Virginia, where she began planning a business strategy. When the couple moved back to Greenville at the end of 2018, Meraki Pottery was ready to launch.
Meraki (may-rah-kee) is a Greek word meaning “to leave a piece of yourself in your work,” an idea Trina feels captures the essence of what she hopes to do with her art. Australian themes weave throughout her works, including an entire mug series featuring different colored glazes with names and stamps reflecting memories from home. She crafted her Marietta mug after suffering a miscarriage, a personal story she willingly shares with customers via her website. As her blue-and-white wares continue to gain in popularity across the Southeast, it’s the connection and authenticity that matters most to Trina.
“Not everyone likes my stuff, but I do, and overall I’m a lot happier with my work,” she says. “It’s hard to sell something when you’re not proud of it.”
In addition to her blue-and-white pieces, Trina plans to launch a green floral collection this summer. For more of her work, visit merakipottery.com.