Meet Anna Simoes, Ceramicist

Meet Anna Simoes, Ceramicist

Posted by Rachel Berenbaum on

Get to know Anna Simoes, a ceramicist based out of the Fredericksburg, Virginia area. Her brand, Rose B Mystics (instagram, website), was originally created to share her woo woo findings and tarot card reading talents and has evolved to be a home for her ceramic craft. Her pieces are whimsical and ornate, with several shaped into Goddess forms adorned with golden jewelry, stones and crystals - each hand sculpted with unique character.
Anna will be joining us for a meet & greet and artist reception for Fredericksburg First Friday's in August (August 5th) from 5PM - 8PM. We hope you can join us!
We like to start with a big broad brushstroke - tell us about yourself!
Hey, I’m Anna! I was born and raised in Virginia and grew up on a small, hobby farm. That pretty much means most of my childhood was spent running around barefoot, building outdoor forts, getting dirty, and playing with the animals. I’m the first born of three girls and I definitely have that big sister energy. I’m a redhead, and yes that means I can be pretty stubborn.  I was lucky enough to have grown up in a household where art and creatively was constantly nurtured- I believe that has a lot to do with where I am now!  I’ve dabbled in a lot of different art forms (water color, oil painting, jewelry making, embroidery, the list goes on), but ceramics has really taken a hold of my life. I love that the possibilities are endless!

OK, so we’re geeking out a little bit over here - we saw that not only are you a *chef’s kiss* talented ceramicist, you also read tarot cards. We’re fascinated. How did you get into tarot card work? Do you find tarot / related subjects influence your work?  How did you get into tarot card work?
A couple years ago, my sister and I were talking about the tarot and we both ended up buying decks. The decks arrived and I quickly became obsessed! I wanted to know the ins and outs of every card.  I pulled a daily card for two years straight. During that time, I started an Instagram (@rosebmystics), created a blog, and became a Certified Tarot Reader. I honestly believe that journey pushed me to be more creative and eventually lead me to pottery. 
My favorite resources for learning the tarot:
Do you find tarot / related subjects influence your work? 
I definitely think tarot and other “woo woo” subjects have inspired my work.  As I learned something new, I was sharing it on my Instagram or blog (if you scroll to the beginning of my IG, you can see there was very little pottery and a lot of tarot!). It really pushed me to get creative everyday and helped me grow. Now a days, I’ll pull a card or two before bed to see if there are any special messages I need to hear/see. Without my tarot journey, I wouldn’t be where I am now sharing my art with amazing people!

What does a typical day look like?
I wish I could paint this beautiful picture of waking up fully rested and playing with clay all day, but that’s not my reality (yet). I am a full time office manager/ payroll admin so I spend my weekdays at the office working until 5pm. When I get home, I’m generally cooking dinner (salmon, rice, and asparagus is an at home favorite), cleaning up, and finally when everything else is done I get to play with clay! I’ll sit at the counter for an hour or two and work on a piece or sit at the table and add earrings/adornments to a RBM Goddess. 

Tell us more about your work with clay. When you start a piece, do you have an ‘end goal’ in mind, something you are working towards - or do you work more intuitively and go with the flow as each piece develops? Related - tell us about your creative process. How has your work evolved over time? 
When you start a piece, do you have an ‘end goal’ in mind, something you are working towards - or do you work more intuitively and go with the flow as each piece develops?
It really depends what I’m working on. If I’m sculpting a Goddess it’s completely unplanned. I usually start with a hunk of clay and it very organically becomes whatever it’s meant to be. If I’m illustrating/painting something on a piece of greenware, there’s usually a decent amount of planning. I’ll pull up Pinterest and search for photos of whatever I’m painting. Once I’ve narrowed down my illustration idea, I’ll sketch it out on the pot and then start painting. I’ve been loving the amaco smug pallets and they’ve inspired a lot of my recent work!
I would still consider myself a fairly new ceramic artist. I started taking throwing classes very late 2019 and began hand building a lot more mid 2020. My thrown work started out like most-wobbly, uneven walls, and small! After a lot of practice, I’m excited to say I have successfully made a piece with as much as 12lbs of clay! Hand building has always felt more natural/ less of a challenge. I’ve always felt like I could sculpt something far better than I could paint it! In terms of the evolution of my work, I believe as I continue to gain experience and new techniques my work has continued to evolve. Each Goddess I sculpt becomes a little bit more my style. 
Could you share with us any specific works of art, literature, music, etc that have been inspiring to you recently? (Or/Also - any memories, travels, movements, playlists)
I know this is said by a lot of artists, but one of my biggest inspirations is nature!  I find myself drawn to the things you may find on a nature walk- bark, mushrooms, insects, greenery, etc. 

I’m currently in Portugal and I’ve been admiring all of the beautiful ceramics and tile work! So many of the buildings feature their own unique works of art and I think it may inspire a lot of my upcoming collection! In terms of art, I love all of La Viva Verde’s work. I actually took a workshop run by her in April 2021- it was so amazing to see how she worked! 

above: ceramic work by La Viva Verde, an inspiration of Anna's.
above: photographs of tiles taken during Anna's recent trip to Portugal.
What does an ideal day of rest and recharging for you include? 
My ideal rest and recharge day would probably be spent at home- I’m a home body at my core. I thrive with a good night sleep and the opportunity to sleep in! Once awake, nothing feels better than a warm shower. My day would likely also include some tea, good food, and playing with some clay!
What are your favorite rituals for self-care? 
I like to consider small daily acts self-care especially when they are done intentionally. Here are a few of my favorite:

  • After a particularly stressful day, nothing feels better than a warm shower- while in the shower I visualize the stress of the day washing away. 
  • Sleep is self care. I prioritize getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night and focus on clearing my mind before bed. 
  • Spending time being creative.  When I am able to sit down and work on a new sculpture I find myself in a highly relaxed state. 
  • Applying skin care. After a shower I’ll apply my daily products and if I’m feeling a little extra, I’ll sit with a face mask and relax. 
What are some of your favorite objects in your home?
I adore all of the work I’ve been able to pick up from other artists over the years! Some of my favorites are my La Viva Verde head, Lims Clay head, Emily Pawlica boob planter, Neal Reed octopus planter, and Dan Finnegan Bird planter! I’m also one of those people that decorates with tons of plants. Nothing makes a room feel better than a room full of freshly watered plants. Everything feels so alive!

What is something that you’re proud of, personally and/or professionally? 
I’m proud that I can call myself an artist and that I’ve found a passion that keeps me creative (and pays for itself)!  Pottery has pushed me to be patient, explore new techniques, get dirty, and continuously grow!  It’s a journey I’m happy to be on and excited to continue. 
What are you looking forward to? 
I’ve recently led some hand building private lessons at Liberty Town and I’m hoping to do more in the future! I love teaching and sharing my love of clay. Teaching has always come very organically to me- My first job was actually teaching Tae Kwon Do! There are actually a lot of big changes coming up within the next couple of months, but I can’t share anything quite yet.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
My grandma always said, “make someone smile everyday.”  It’s wild how a smile can completely shift the energy of a room. Do yourself a favor and do a small act of kindness for someone else- it doesn’t have to be big. For example, I love picking wild flowers for my sister. 

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