Featured Artist - Tonya from Totally To The T

Hey hey hey! Let's take some time to meet Tonya from Totally To The T in Little Champ's FIRST EVER Featured Artist!!
Handmade Porcelain Ceramic Donut Pendant Festive Holiday Lights by TotallyToTheT on Etsy.com
"Do what you have a passion for. Don't do something unless you feel passionate about it. I think finding a creative outlet has made me more passionate about everything in life. I want to make every minute count."

Tonya has been interested in clay and ceramics for a long time, but finally took the plunge to learn about making them herself about two years ago. Texture is what truly drew her into this craft, as she enjoyed seeing how the clay changed throughout her creating. She also uses found objects in her own garden to press into the clay to give it one of a kind textures and designs.
Tonya proudly posing with her Rosemary that she nurtured from a seed.
Totally To The T is currently based out of Western North Carolina, even though Tonya grew up in South Bend, Indiana (woo hoo Midwesterners!). North Carolina has been a good fit for Tonya over the past 7 years, especially as she's grown her crafting business - "I find it most inspiring to be here. There are many other ceramic artists. North Carolina has a very STRONG clay tradition. And because I am close to Asheville, there is a creative funky vibe that runs through everything where I live."
Handmade Ceramic Porcelain Pendant Red Dancing Hearts by TotallyToTheT on Etsy.com

Let's all make ourselves one of Tonya's favorite sandwiches (Roast Beef and Provolone or Mozzarella and a little each of yellow mustard and mayo, on a croissant, a fresh piece of basil and tomato from the garden) as we learn a little more about what inspires this great artist...

What's your favorite season?
Autumn. I love the cooler weather and the changes that take place in nature. This is often my last chance to find good leaves and other natural pieces to press into clay
If you won the lottery or hit a jackpot RIGHT NOW - what's the first thing you'd do?
Don't tell my boss- but I would quit my day job so I have more time to play with clay! I would go on a trip to Japan to explore the ceramics tradition and Japanese culture, and I would buy a really BIG kiln. I would make my husband go back to school to become an ichthyologist- it was his childhood dream. Also, the rural high school in our community has a limited clay program, but they don't have a lot of the more expensive equipment, like throwing wheels. I would definitely outfit their program with everything they need to encourage our local artistic clay tradition. 
What is your most favorite thing about creating?
Spontaneity and seeing what I imagined become reality on clay.
Do you have any kids or pets? Tell me all about them!
Whew! No kids, but we have fur babies and a scaly baby. Our two dogs are Gidget, a Corgi mix, and LeeLooDallasMultipass (LooDog), a Yellow Lab/Boxer Mix. They are the sweetest and love to go hiking with us. Our cats are all rescues and are as follows in order of adoption: Fluffenpooge, SwissMiss, Twinkie, Schnurrenpooge and Zipper (we call him Wood Pile and Hole in the Head, related to his adventures as an outdoor cat before he let us bring him in)
"LooDog" is one of the mascots of Totally To The T!
Support systems are a very important part of these crafty business ventures - who is the single person who constantly inspires you to keep going?
My husband. He has been very patient and understanding about all the time I spend trying to improve my craft skills and hone my business acumen. He is very supportive of anything I want to jump into but also gives thoughtful critical advice when I need it.

If her enthusiasm isn't proof enough that she LOVES what she's doing... I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up (even us grown ups can dream still!) and her response? "A clay artist."
Handmade Lace Impressed Milk and Honey 6 inch Round Plate Ceramic Stoneware Cream Creme Beige Khaki Wobbly Rustic Shabby Chic by TotallyToTheT on Etsy.com

textured buttons and a few pendants freshly cut from a slab this morning and drying in the breeze and morning sun on the front porch.
Thanks to Tonya, for letting me hound you with tons of questions! It was great getting to know you through our emails - and I wish you the best of luck in the future!

Don't forget to check out all of Totally To The T's great stuff all over the internet:

Remember, if you'd like to be a featured artist - just let me know! There's no shame in self-nominations ;)

Have a Champ-tastic Weekend, everyone!


  1. And just in case that was not enough... I forgot to mention the scaly baby is Caroline, our Sumatran Blood Python. She is my science teacher husband's class mascot. :)
    Thanks for the feature!

  2. Awesome Blog Post Little Champ!!

    Its great to get to know you Totally!!:) I love the names of your animals!!
    I got one of the red hearts and the donut at the very top of the page today and I LOVE them!!! Can't wait to create a necklace for each of them!!

  3. Finally responding to your comments, sorry gals!
    Tonya - I'm glad you like how it turned out! It was definitely a fun process :)

    Megs - thanks so much for stopping by - and i'm VERY excited to see the necklaces that you use the pendants in!

  4. i'm so glad to know that i'm not the only one in this world that has named cats after snack foods! LOL I had a twinkie and a cheeto at one point in time.