In her Wellfleet studio, Kaitlyn Sarazin is busy creating a batch of ceramic mugs imprinted with the sockets and hollows of a skull. They look like the perfect vessels for Halloween libations, although “they are not supposed to be spooky,” she says.
“They are memento mori,” Sarazin says, meant “to remind us that we have limited time on Earth and to make every day count.” Not a bad reminder to go with one’s morning coffee on any day of the year.
Sarazin has been making pottery in her home studio for the past four years. Although she first took a pottery class in high school, she was frustrated with the process. “It’s probably the hardest medium I ever tried,” she says. “I couldn’t learn it for a very long time until I found this wheel in an antique shop. I am stubborn, and I said to myself, ‘I can do this.’ ”
Since mastering the wheel, Sarazin has made a range of products she sells online, including jewelry and some playful creations like a mug in the shape of an ice cream cone.
She first made the memento mori mugs for a friend who asked her to design some with the image of a skull. Sarazin made the pieces, but her friend didn’t buy them in the end. “I put them all online, and they were gone in one day,” says Sarazin.
She makes the mugs in small batches, using her hands to shape the contours of the skull for each mug. She finds the slow process meditative and therapeutic.
“I studied art and psychology and wanted to be an art therapist,” says Sarazin. “Working with clay helps my nervous system. I do art therapy for myself now.”