As a child, my mom used the word “imagination” but what I heard was “magic nation”. I desperately wanted to know where this “magic nation” was …and when I could visit. She said, “It’s the place you go, where all your dreams come true”. That’s where I live now, in my own “magic nation” where I make art, work in my garden and play with my dogs…a world where anything is possible.
I grew up in an eccentric southern family. 0ur family home in Natchez, Mississippi has been on tour since the 1930’s. Each tourist season, the locals dress in antebellum costumes to “receive” the tourists. My grandmother, with thirteen grandchildren total, made new costumes every year. I can still see her sewing frantically, ribbons flying, piles of fabric everywhere and at least six small girls twirling around in hoop skirts and ruffled pantalets waiting for their dresses to be complete.
Her attic was, and still is, full of vintage clothes, 1940’s hats, costumes, bolts of fabric, old paintings, broken furniture, and piles of books. We dressed up all summer long, for all the years of my child hood. Every time I visit, still today, I find myself in some over- the- top hat, with fabric bunched under my arm, flipping through a book on castles or palm reading. This attic in my grandmother’s house was the physical form of the “magic nation” of my childhood.
Creative play was encouraged in our family. We built forts from cardboard boxes, draped gauzy fabric across chairs and sofas. We had “theme” birthdays, with cakes four storeys high in the shape of dragons or fairies. One year, there was a train cake that ran the full length of the dinning room table. Every thing in this world was magical, outrageous and wonderful. From the eyes of a child it was a wonderland.
My work comes from these experiences. Each piece is approached with the attitude of “dress up”, with the “need to play”. I use clay to create very simple forms that I then embellish with whimsical, raw and colorful patterns and figures. There is a definite child-like quality, but not childish—more like a tea party for adults. Each piece is supposed to be fun and a bit outrageous. I create cake plates that I imagine to be filled with the most extravagant of desserts, casserole dishes to be the “guest-serving piece” at a dinner party and wine cups that beg to be held with two hands. Everything seems to come from a fantasy world, a place where I can break the rules of fashion, mixing pink with red dots and blue and green stripes.
I make art because I have to. It is my way of playing and, like a child, my play is my work. It is how I express myself. It is the language I understand. I love the process, the repetition, and the feeling of magic every time I open the kiln door. I get great pleasure from knowing that others can enjoy my work. They can take it home with them and use it every day. By making pots, I get to share my “magic nation” in a way that words cannot explain.
Angelique Tassistro, artist and owner of Fly Coop Studios, makes work into play. Her belief in the magic of creativity, along with her childhood mispronunciation, turned imagination into “magic nation.” Angelique is a ceramic artist who focuses on functional, whimsical pottery with a sculptural approach, always going to that “magic nation” for inspiration.
Angelique’s pottery incorporates bright colors and unique patterns. Meant to be used every day, these pieces can inspire a creative chef, add a little spice to a room, or be used for special occasions. The collection has something for everyone; pick out a unique gift or something special for yourself.
Fly Coop studio’s is open to the public and is located in the Asheville’s River Arts District at 9 Riverside Drive, Asheville NC 28801.