Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".

BHSU Media

BHSU art student creates ‘Nosey Neighbors’ ceramics

Makayla Pollman
Lydia Derksen, a BHSU art major, in her studio with her ‘Nosey Neighbors’ ceramics series.

Lydia Derksen, a studio art major at Black Hills State University has been creating a collection of ceramics she calls the  “Nosey Neighbors.” The collection features a variety of mugs, vases and dishes that have faced with 3D noses. After beginning to work with ceramics only a year and a half ago, Derksen has pursued ceramics as a new passion and has created over 170 unique pieces in the collection so far.

Derksen is a senior at BHSU and her specialties as a studio art major include painting and drawing, but when it came to taking a ceramics class she was not thrilled about getting her hands in clay.

“I actually dreaded ceramics, I knew it was a class I had to take and the thought of having dry hands from the clay was something that I was really scared of so I wanted to swap it for any other class,” Derksen said.

Since the ceramics class was a requirement for her degree, Derksen had no choice but to take a ceramics class.

“I had to take it and boom I started and I was like ‘why would I ever think I would hate this,’” Derksen said. “I was bad at it, but I loved it. I could not really make anything taller than two inches tall and everything I made on the wheel was pretty uneven and wobbly looking.”

Initially struggling with thecraft, Derksen continued to pursue ceramics and found a new passion.

“By the end of the semester it finally clicked and I was like wait, I know how to do this now,” Derksen said. “I guess I need to take another semester because I’m finally getting good at it.”

The class she was once dreading became something that she wanted to continue learning and she ended up swapping a class to take ceramics a second time the following Fall 2022 semester. It was during this semester that she created the “Nosey Neighbors.”

“That was the semester that the Nosey Neighbors were born,” Derksen said. “Spring of 2022 is when I touched clay for the first time, which is crazy that it was a year and a half ago that I started ceramics.”

Derksen has continued to take more ceramics courses as well as an independent study course dedicated to the craft.

The Nosey Neighbor collection began in October 2022 once she began to develop her skills in throwing.

“It was October of last year and I was finally getting pretty good at throwing pots and mugs,” Derksen said. “I felt like I could add more to them.”

Looking for inspiration online, Derksen came across a ceramic piece that had a face on it and it sparked the idea to create ceramics with noses on them.

“I was looking for inspiration and I saw something that had a face on it, and it looks nothing like my faces, but what if I make little creatures, little people,” Derksen said. “I didn’t really know what I wanted, but I made a little nose shape and all it was a little rectangle and I stuck that on the front of my pot. That was the first Nosey Neighbor.”

At the time, Derksen didn’t have a name for the new ceramic collection, but after brainstorming with some of her friends she eventually came up with the name “Nosey Neighbors.”

By the time the name came about, Derksen had made around 5 ceramic pieces for the Nosey Neighbors collection.

“I didn’t think that I would make as many as I have now,” Derksen said. “Which is I think one-hundred-seventy maybe one-hundred-eighty. This semester alone I have made ninety-three.”

Derksen has also been selling her pieces from the Nosey Neighbors collection. “I started selling by word of mouth, and to some relatives;  aunts and grandmas, people who want to support your work,” Derksen said.

After selling to relatives, classmates and others started asking if they were for sale. “I have sold maybe about 60 of them and I haven’t even put them on an online shop yet,” Derksen said.

Derksen plans to open an online shop where her ceramics will be available for purchase. She also has an art account on Instagram where she posts current art as well as her ceramics. From her Instagram account alone she has generated interest in her work.

“One time I posted, and I got 10 or 12 people who bought them from that post,” Derksen said. “Some people I didn’t even know in real life.”

She is hoping to expand the collection in the future to include more designs and colors. In addition, she created a Valentine’s Day series with heart cheeks on the Nosey Neighbors and she has plans to continue expanding and creating new editions of the collection.

“[There are many] possibilities since it is such a simple thing, I make the shape of a nose, I put it on to a mug, cup or a plate,” Derksen said. “When that nose goes on it becomes a Nosey Neighbor.”

Derksen is planning on setting up her own studio to work in after college to continue creating ceramics. She also plans to start a business out of the Nosey Neighbors.

“The end goal would be to have my own business,” Derksen said.

For more information on Derksen’s “Nosey Neighbors” or her other art visit her Instagram at Artsy.lyd.