Coastal Ceramics

Jen Cole of Teal Turtle Studio shares inspirations for her art

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The coast is an essential influence in JEN COLE’S ceramic art. Cole, the founder of Teal Turtle Studio in Wilmington, has been working with ceramics since a young age.

“I create coastal-inspired ceramics with gorgeous glossy Caribbean inspired teal glazes,” Cole says.

Her delve into the ceramic world led her to Penland School of Crafts and a job as a ceramic teacher at Racine Center for the Arts in Wilmington.

In 2009, Cole graduated from UNCW with a master’s degree in Coastal Management, which, when paired with her love for ceramics, has led to coastal-inspired art.

“I draw inspiration from my love of the ocean, it’s colors and it’s creatures,” she says.

Cole talks about her journey with ceramic, the studio, and learning opportunities for kids.

Jen ColeWILMA: How did you get started making ceramic art?
Cole: “I visited a paint-your-own-pottery style studio when I was 7 years old near my house and I was hooked. The public school system in my hometown of Asheville catered to the arts and I was lucky enough to have a full studio to work in throughout high school. After I took all of the classes available the teacher let me be the studio aid for the rest of my semesters in school. I was hooked!”

WILMA: What motivated you to open Teal Turtle Studio?
Cole: “I have always known I wanted my own studio. As soon as I graduated with my Master’s degree I put a kiln on my credit card and never looked back. My art became very ocean leaden and my customers wanted more and more turtles and all in teal… and Teal Turtle was born.”

WILMA: In your website, you mention that supporting local is important for you, how do you support local?
Cole: “I use North Carolina clay for all of my products and support local Carolina based distributors. I also like to give back as often as I can to local nonprofits.”


WILMA: You also have classes for kids this summer, what do the classes consist of?
Cole: “We have classes that start the first week of July for beginners and advanced students. We will learn about hand-building skills, the clay process, glazing, and will make several projects from start to finish. We also have two camps available that are Monday through Friday half-day camps and kids will make tons of fun themed clay projects and tie-dye camp t-shirts. All classes and camps are held at The Wild Child Art Studio in Hampstead.”

WILMA: Where can people find your work?
Cole: “You can find my work at Blue Moon Gifts Shops and Uptown Market in Wilmington and at some great retailers across the coast and online at”

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Categories: Culture