This week’s Artist Profile features artist Lily Carter of Eat What They Feed You. Big thanks to Lily for donating a slipcast ceramic Chickadee Pipe and Abalone Dish gift pack which we raffled off at our Heady Vermont First Anniversary Party on 4/20! Interested in being featured in our Culture section? Shoot us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heady Vermont: What is your personal background — age, where you were born, any academic background?
I’m 27, born and raised in rural Vermont. By training, I’m a printmaker, with a focus in silkscreen. I grew up surrounded by artists, craftspeople, and cooks. The cooks are to blame for my moniker, Eat What They Feed You.
I first discovered silkscreen when I was 14. My parents bought me a kit and I learned basic silkscreen from a VHS tape. By the time I got to UVM, printmaking was all I wanted to do, art-wise. My first semester, I was lucky enough to end up in a printmaking and drawing class with an incredible professor and mentor. I stuck with her all four years.
I came to ceramics very recently. My mom is a potter, so I’ve been immersed in the process my entire life. I learned about slip casting this past winter, in California. The process mirrors that of printmaking, in its shared sense of multiplicity. You create an original image or form, then go through the various steps to make a duplicate. So, I taught myself how to slipcast from watching YouTube videos — miraculously, it worked! The whole process was so inspiring, that sense of discovery, the unknown, welcoming mistakes, learning from the mistakes, and having a sense of humor about it all (or, the learning process) was something I had missed dearly.
My niece was learning to crawl around the same time; her energy and eagerness to try over and over again inspired me to do the same. I even decided to take UVM’s Professional Certificate in Cannabis Science and Medicine as a result! I can’t wait!
HVT: Tell us a little bit about your profile as an artist — from where do you draw inspiration, what media do you prefer, how would you describe your style?
Traveling has always been my main source of inspiration. Vermont is such a lovely place to come home to. That contrast between home and elsewhere, and the exquisite places where they overlap, is incredibly intriguing to me.
Vermont is such a lovely place to come home to. That contrast between home and elsewhere, and the exquisite places where they overlap, is incredibly intriguing to me.
Creative outlets occupy most of my time — music, silkscreen, cooking, ceramics, dance, landscapes, design … I’ve never been able to choose just one. The ceramic endeavor just felt right in my heart, within it was a dedication to my travels, while maintaining a clear connection to home.
HVT: How long have you been in Vermont and do you feel that your art has a connection to your setting in VT?
I’ve been in Vermont my whole life. Of course, it’s been off and on for the past nine years, with stints in Central America, Europe, and the West Coast. All of the work I do has a very strong sense of place, each image or piece originates from a very specific location. The Chickadee Pipe, for example, was made over the winter, in my mom’s pottery shop, watching a pair of Chickadees hover around her bird feeder.
I’m also working on a series of smudge dishes and one hitters, cast from rocks and shells I’ve found in my beach travels, so there’s a mix. Variety is important to me and to the work.
HVT: Has cannabis played a role in your life? If so, in what ways? If you consume, do you feel it has an effect on your artwork?
Cannabis has indeed played a role in my life! I just spent part of the winter in California — the spectrum of cannabis products available is incredible. The CBD products out there were a revelation!
I don’t usually partake while I work — the feeling of flow while working is awesome, in and of itself. Holistically though, cannabis can help me clear my mind and bring me back to the present moment — which definitely helps with art making and life in general. I usually use cannabis with yoga or music, during beach days, and before bed. Creatively, the time when I’m falling asleep has been inspiring, the mix of awake and asleep can give rise to some cool ideas.
HVT: What is your vision for the future of cannabis in Vermont? Do you have an opinion about the cannabis reform process and changes you’d like to see?
California has certainly set an example for the rest of the country — I’d love to see Vermont follow their lead. Vermonters are already such incredibly talented makers and land lovers — we make some pretty awesome stuff here in Vermont! I can’t wait to see what we can do with our own cannabis industry. Cannabis is relatively unexplored territory in Vermont – it’s high time to tap into its potential!
To learn more, visit Lily’s website: Eat What They Feed You