When Cassandra Weare ’16 was in eighth grade and won first place for her ceramic piece in the Small Independent Schools Art League (SISAL) competition, she never dreamed she’d be making pottery as a professional artist. Today, she not only has her own kiln and studio, but she also sells her wares in stores, at shows, and online.
Weare has what she calls her production pieces, popular works that she produces in larger batches to satisfy demand. But to give her mind some space and to get her creative juices flowing, she sets aside a limited time to work on her horseshoe crab sculptures. And then there is her signature piece, the boob mug.
“The mother of a friend of mine from Falmouth Academy discovered she had breast cancer, and she is such a wonderful person that I wanted to honor her.” Although Weare said she never wanted to monetize her friend’s story, the owner of Daily Brew in Cataumet saw it and ordered 25 mugs, saying that the piece inspired her customers as well.
“I’ve had people who are fighting breast cancer reach out and ask for mugs that portray mastectomies, and they are popular too with younger women who like expressing body positivity.” Weare names each mug after women in her life and is often asked to make them for friends and family, however she draws the line at people sending her pictures of their anatomy.
“There’s nothing like the boob mugs on Cape,” said Weare. “After three and a half years, I didn’t think I’d still be making them. I definitely thought it would be a one-off thing. But, I’ll ride the wave as long as I can.”
Weare’s pieces are glazed in soothing shades of green and blue applied to various works from berry bowls, to plates, to serving pieces, to smoke ware. In fact, her work appeared in the bridal registry for former Falmouth Academy English teacher Allyson Manchester. “They sent me a photo of a home-cooked meal using my pieces the night after I delivered the order, and that was really special.”
There is a science to Weare’s work, such as how the shape of the piece affects the experience, how it feels in the hand when taking a drink, or how the food sits on the plate. “You start to notice things, like if a ramen bowl is flat on the bottom, you can’t get the remaining liquid out of it, so it has to have a taper to make it more functional. Women, especially, will come back and say that a mug feels really nice to hold in their hand or that a bowl compliments their dish because of the glaze I used.”
As a small-business owner, Weare knew she needed guidance and joined the "EforAll Cape Cod" mentoring program which pairs participants with three mentors who work intensely together for a year. For the first time in its five-years on the Cape, Weare’s group is an all-women cohort.
“They are all awesome and it’s so important to have that network. When you work by yourself you just kind of get into that hermit mode. You don’t have people to really bounce creative ideas off of. So, having that group of women who are going through what you are, trying to start a small business, it’s great.”
After attending a year of college, Weare knew she wanted to reacquaint herself with ceramics and took a few classes at the Falmouth Art Center with none other than FA’s ceramics teacher, Seth Rainville.
As a student at FA, Weare said she and Eliza Van Voorhis ’17 and Colleen Hall ’16 would spend every free minute in the studio. “I think with the intensity and workload of the classes, just having that hour and a half every week where we could do something with our hands and be creative was really important. It was definitely worth it.”
Weare sells her work online at wearepottery.com
and is also a member of the co-operative at the Art Coddage in Mashpee Commons. She plans to participate in a host of art shows this summer and at Arts Barnstable.
She said, “I’m just trying to make a go of it. I still wake up every morning and am excited to go to work. I’m doing something where I actually enjoy my job, so I plan to do it for a while.”