By Bethanie Hestermann
Handmade ceramics that radiate love + warmth—that’s Sequoyah Johnson’s specialty. Well, that and those little smileys we can’t get enough of! Sequoyah is the Coy in The Coy Collection, and she is the biggest breath of fresh air. Her refreshing perspective on maker life is truly inspiring, and her pieces are guaranteed to make you smile.
Let the ruts come and go as they please, makers! Accept the learning curve, and get to know Sequoyah in today’s Q&A.
Tell us about The Coy Collection!
The Coy Collection offers a variety of ceramic wares that make you feel good—connecting functional artwork to self-love and care. Our mission is to empower, inspire, and spark joy in everyday rituals. Each piece serves as a ‘lil reminder that your body + home are worthy of smiles, love, and warmth.
What is the best part about what you create?
I love being able to spread so much joy and love through my work! It is so rewarding to have so many little smiles all over the world uplifting people’s spirits!
How do you stay inspired + avoid creative ruts?
Honestly, let the ruts come and go as they please. I think it’s important to feel all the feelings and understand that they are normal but do not have to control your life or creative process. I have also noticed I am more receptive to inspiration when I am taking care of myself. Frequent breaks are so necessary, as well as balancing and enjoying life!
Favorite music for boosting creativity?
The artist Thundercat is seriously a genius! He’s playing rn. Insert chef’s kiss!
How does creativity bring goodness to your life?
I wouldn’t be able to function without creativity in my life. It is who I am—it is how I live! Expressing myself through creativity really allows me to stay present and enjoy every aspect of life.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to either be an ice skater, a firefighter, or a Walmart cashier … none of which are remotely close to what I’m doing now, but never say never!
What do people NOT know about what you do?
THE LEARNING CURVE IS REAL HONEY, but everything is so rewarding! There are so many hats you have to wear as a small business owner. I’d say the making is only about 20% of what I do!
What made you decide to start your own business?
Getting fired! It actually was the best thing that could’ve ever happened to me. It allowed time for self-exploration and for me to really get in touch with what I wanted to do with my life.
What inspired your signature happy faces?
A few aspects in my life come to mind. I remember my childhood being not so pleasant, and I was still happy as a kid amidst adversity. I also remember when I became a middle school art teacher and would give neon smiley stickers and stamps, and they brought so much joy to the kids—even when they were trying to act like a “cool” teenager. I also remember the pandemic and wanting to feel happiness and relief and just drawing a few smileys on a few mugs for fun, and I felt instant joy and relief! I think my superpower is to shift my perspective to a positive one!
Let’s be real, what’s the hardest/most frustrating thing about what you do?
Not being able to keep up with the demand and not having more than two arms to create more work. Most people don’t understand what goes on behind the scenes of running a small business. I wear many hats and have to make all the decisions. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, but breaking everything down into baby steps + reflecting on how far I’ve come really helps put things back into perspective.
Where’s the most exciting place a piece of your art has ended up?
Dubai! Hopefully I can make it there one day!
What advice do you have for aspiring ceramicists?
HANG IN THERE! Ceramics is a frustrating medium, but keep going! And make sure you make things that you like and make you happy!