Angelique Tassistro is a nationally-recognized ceramic artist who creates functional pottery with a sculptural approach. Her belief in the magic of creativity inspired her signature process, original aesthetic in the realm of pottery dinnerware, award-winning career, and the bolstering of Asheville’s celebrated arts scene.
Handmade Pottery Inspired by Play
As a child, Angelique mistook the word “imagination” as “magic nation,” and she dreamt of such a land where dreams came true. This idea of “magic nation” stayed with Angelique over the years and has become her life philosophy of sorts. The career she enjoys and bustling studio in which she playfully creates spectacular ceramic dishware are manifestations of her “magic nation.”
Asheville is the current setting of Angelique’s “magic nation,” and when she’s making handmade ceramic dishware or plugging into the local art scene, she’s hiking and camping with her husband, playing with her dog Harvey, and letting her creative mind wander in new directions.
Raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in an eccentric Southern family that fostered play and creativity, Angelique recalls a childhood marked by wondrous adventures like fort-building and elaborately themed birthday celebrations with larger-than-life cakes fashioned four-stories high. She’s continually inspired by these fanciful childhood memories, and especially of playing dress-up in her grandmother’s home.
The house was Angelique’s first “magic nation,” and the attic especially enchanted her; to this day, it’s still brimming with vintage clothes, 1940’s hats, costumes, bolts of fabric, old paintings, broken furniture, and piles of books. Angelique and her cousins discovered all kinds of treasures here as they played dress up and flipped through books on castles, palm reading, and other curiosities.
From a Magical Childhood to an Iconic Career in Handmade Pottery
Those rich and imaginative childhood adventures fully stoked Angelique’s pursuit of creative endeavors and inform the unique style of her handmade pottery dishware. Each piece is approached with the attitude of “dress up,” demanding playfulness and imagination. She uses clay to create simple forms embellished with enchantment, raw and colorful patterns that exude a definite child-like—but not childish—quality, like a tea party for adults. Her style is fun and a bit outrageous. Her cake plates are perfect matches for extravagant desserts and her wine cups beg to be held with two hands.
Angelique is an esteemed artist whose unique, imaginative take on handmade pottery dishes and dinnerware receives national accolades. Her work is playful and vibrant, with architecturally-influenced forms made alive with layers of color and dynamic lines. She uses a unique subtractive process to work backwards in time through the layers of visual information previously added to her pots.
In 2010, Angelique was selected to be one of WNC's Top 10 Emerging Artists. She’s undoubtedly a rising star in the ceramic world, with numerous recent publication credits and inclusion in the 2011 Ceramics Monthly Top 15 National Emerging Clay Artists.
“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.”