Tell us your name, occupation and where you are from?
My name is Kenesha Sneed and I’m from the desert city of Palmdale, CA, a place where every school I attended was named after a cactus, palmtree or tumbleweed… really. I currently live in Los Angeles where I’m an illustrator / maker of stoneware goods!
How did your path lead to stoneware ceramic designing?
I started studying design and animation at Otis College of Art in 2006. I remember a project where I used clay to create an animated short story and I’d like to think that started my need to use my hands more outside of the computer. After graduating and spending over 5 years illustrating digitally, I took a few ceramic classes where I learned how to use a wheel and really haven’t stopped since. Currently, I spend the day working as a illustrator at an animation studio and after hours I’m getting messy with clay.
Why the name “Tactile Matter“
I wanted the name to show who I am in contrast to my other creative side, who spends most of the day playing with pixels. Tactile means something physical you can touch or feel and Matter is anything from an entity or object, so the combination of the two words feels right for the process of making my ceramic pieces.
Was there a defining moment in creating Tactile Matter or more of a casual occurrence?
It really started like a lot of creative businesses, by taking a hobby and seeing if it can grow into something bigger. After an amazing opportunity came along to be apart of an online sale which featured local artists, and after my collection sold beyond my wildest expectations, It felt like a natural move to set up an online store. Taking that step out of my comfort zone by exposing my work was so worth it, that was really the beginning of Tactile Matter.
I think it’s so important to move through life carving your own path and just owning it. Not pursuing the things you want isn’t worth that moment in the future when you look back with regrets. If you believe in your vision, support will be there one way or another.
I can’t tell you enough how many times I second guess decisions and question ideas but I like to think of fear is a temporary road block that’s trying to keep you from being a better you. It takes some extra strength to push through and get to the opportunities on the other side.
Suggestions or advice for those who are afraid to take the first steps in building a business?
Go for it! Reach out to people that inspire you, be a sponge learning as much as possible and don’t hold yourself back from asking for help or receiving advice. It’s a constant opportunity for self-growth, which that alone is an amazing reward for the hard work you’ll put into it.
What is the best piece of advice or life lesson you have learned regarding your work?
Making mistakes is inevitable, so embrace it and learn from it when that happens, I’m still working on that part every day!
I’ve definitely had both interesting and annoying jobs but I’ve also been fortunate to have spent a large chunk of time working with other creatives in some capacity, whether I was interning at a design studio or assisting an artist. I feel like those opportunities helped me grow creatively and now I’m able to draw inspiration from those moments and work them into my ceramic pieces.
I’ve been listening to a continuous loop of my playlist “Lady realness” to get the day started with positive vibes. I’ve also been obsessively collecting inspirational design books, “Conflict and Costume” and “Maske” are two of my favorites which explore gowns, uniforms and masquerades all around Africa.
Describe your style (fashion)
Denim. denim. denim! I’ve got such an obsession that I’ve got a rack dedicated to it outside of my closet. I’m also a self-titled girly tomboy, so I love marrying a bit of masculinity to my feminine wardrobe, pairing boyfriend jeans with a delicate top is my uniform. A lot of denim and colorful head scarves have been leaving my closet lately!
Favorite restaurant and dish you would not want to live without?
Tender Greens is one of my favorite new spots in Downtown L.A. I devoured their ciabatta chicken sandwich and mint lemonade in no time… it’s almost too good.
Do you have a workout/exercise routine? If so, what is your routine?
I do love a good hike but let’s be real, I prefer putting on headphones and starting a solo dance-off in my living room!
What do you do to cope with stress
Time spent with friends, Netflix, music and of course some wheel spinning are all my personal reliefs from any stress.
Set the mood of your work space; do you listen to music, enjoy silence, turn off your phone etc…
You’ll usually find me with my headphones on when I’m in the studio, listening to tunes makes all the difference in my mood and all around creative process. This type of work isn’t always the cleanest, so I try as much as possible to keep my hands inside the vehicle at all times or else everything I touch literally turns to stone!
If you could spend the weekend with anyone in the universe (past or present) who would it be and why?
My grandfather, whom my mom always shares so many amazing stories about the kind of person he was. I never had the chance to meet him before he passed away but I always wonder what it
Favorite inspirational quote and/or book?
“I am a Woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal Woman, that’s me.” Maya Angelou’s poem is one that every woman should use as their personal mantra.
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size But when I start to tell them, They think I’m telling lies. I say, It’s in the reach of my arms, The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me.
I walk into a room Just as cool as you please, And to a man, The fellows stand or Fall down on their knees. Then they swarm around me, A hive of honey bees. I say, It’s the fire in my eyes, And the flash of my teeth, The swing in my waist, And the joy in my feet. I’m a woman Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman, That’s me.
Men themselves have wondered What they see in me. They try so much But they can’t touch My inner mystery. When I try to show them, They say they still can’t see. I say, It’s in the arch of my back, The sun of my smile, The ride of my breasts, The grace of my style. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me.
Now you understand Just why my head’s not bowed. I don’t shout or jump about Or have to talk real loud. When you see me passing, It ought to make you proud. I say, It’s in the click of my heels, The bend of my hair, the palm of my hand, The need for my care. ’Cause I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me.
Future projects or goals?
I’m very excited to have my collection apart of West Elm Los Angeles, which should be in-store just in time for the upcoming holidays! If you’re within the L.A. radius, be sure to stop by and check out the local assortment.
Where can we find Tactile Matter (site links and all social media handlers)
You can find my work at Tactilematter.com and you can follow my collection on instagram @tactilematter
For more on Tactile Matter click here