Five Minutes With Alice Nasto

The Bremen ceramicist on her crafty love language, choosing a maker’s life over mechanical engineering, and the vintage remnant she treasures.

ceramicist Alice Nasto sitting in her Breman studio
Interview by Sarah Stebbins
Photos by Tara Rice
From the Fall 2023 issue of Maine Homes by Down East

In my spare time, I…

quilt. I taught myself as a kid [in Houston], and picked it back up during the pandemic, when I made this quilt with scraps from a sewing workshop I taught at MIT. I make one or two quilts a year, usually for friends. A handmade gift is my love language. It’s how I say, ‘I really care about you.’

a quilt Alice Nasto made
print by French printmaker Virginie Morgand

An artist I admire is…

French printmaker Virginie Morgand. I like the vibrant colors in this print; I share a similar color sense in my work. And I love the feeling it elicits of floating in water. I live on [Bremen’s] McCurdy Pond and swim there or at Pemaquid Beach [in Bristol] almost daily from late spring to early fall.

I started making pottery…

while getting a PhD in mechanical engineering at MIT. Eventually, I was thinking about ceramics more than other things. Mid-century patterns, like those on Hornsea pottery and Marimekko fabric, inspired these shapes. I like that they’re geometric, but not perfect. $50 each.

mugs by ceramicist Alice Nasto
brass candlesticks from  the Wiscasset Antiques Mall

“When things slow down in winter, my husband and I go antiquing. The Wiscasset Antiques Mall is open year-round. I like the patina on these brass candlesticks we got there, and the beehive-esque appearance.”

I collect…

pitchers. I got this pewter one from MaineBarnSale, in Newcastle, and the glass one from Antiques Etcetera, in Rockland. I’m really drawn to the shapes. I make pitchers, and although these are not styles I emulate, I think it’s interesting to look beyond what you usually reference for inspiration.

a pewter pitcher from MaineBarnSale, in Newcastle, and a glass pitcher from Antiques Etcetera, in Rockland
vintage cuckoo-clock face from The Kingfisher & The Queen

A special piece I own is…

a vintage cuckoo-clock face from The Kingfisher & The Queen, in Damariscotta. It reminds me of a Christmas wreath, but we keep it up all year. The wood complements the paneling and trim in our 1940s home, which has a classic Maine-camp interior.

Recently, I purchased…

hand-woven tea towels by [Wiscasset’s] Hilary Crowell that we use as generously sized napkins. They’re practical, as well as beautiful, and I always go for punchy colors. Similar styles, from $40.

hand-woven tea towels by Hilary Crowell
April 2024, Down East Magazine

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