From Iceland — Side Hustle Of The Issue: The Ceramic Artist

Side Hustle Of The Issue: The Ceramic Artist

Published October 19, 2023

Side Hustle Of The Issue: The Ceramic Artist
Photo by
Joana Fontinha

Getting to know Sylvía’s clayful side

“It turned out smaller cups don’t sell that well. We’re now making bigger cups,” laughs Sylvía Dröfn Jónsdóttir as she pinches clay into peculiar shapes. With the pinch pot technique – who needs a pottery wheel to make a cup? This is Sylvía’s clayful side hustle.

Sylvía Dröfn Jónsdóttir, 29, a Master’s student in between jobs

My two friends and I finished our studies in product design in 2020. We are all interested in ceramics and we just happened to buy a kiln that was really cheap. We drove to Akranes to get it. We didn’t have a studio yet, so we had no place to put it. Soon enough, we found our first studio in Skeifan and we just started doing things that we thought were fun.

Ceramics doesn’t have to be serious all the time – we really like working with bright or deep colours, as well as taking on specific projects, like for DesignMarch. We did two projects with them – 100 cups with 100 sentences we overheard at cafes and another one in pools. As part of our workday, we would actually go to the pool and try to collect five or ten sentences. It was a bit harder compared to the cafes because when you’re at the pool, you have to try to remember it and you can’t write it down until you’re outside. But it’s super fun!

Artsy routines

Now we have a studio at that’s like a whole community of creators, so it’s really interesting. We’re really amateur ceramists, so a lot of the time, the things we want to do don’t work out, but a lot of the time they do. And we’re always learning new things, just by doing.

We’ve mostly been doing it whenever we have time or feel like it. But now, we’re starting to meet on Monday evenings and spend a few hours in the studio to get into a routine. Then, we can pop by later in the week when we can. Right now we’re focused on making cups in these funny shapes and different colours. We’re selling them in Mikado and that’s been going really well. 

My favourite part is having this place where you can come, where you have all the materials and everything you need to make stuff. Also, the feeling that we did this all by ourselves – we got the kiln, we got the studio, we put up the shelves and a door. You feel quite independent. The downside is that it’s quite an expensive hobby.

It would be a dream to have this be my main job, but it’s really hard on this island that we live on. Also, if we just keep it as a side hustle, it stays so much fun. You can do it when you want to do it, instead of being dependent on it.

Crafting dreams

For someone who wants to try a similar side hustle, my advice would be: don’t be afraid to do what you want to do because there will always be people who don’t like it. But then there are people who love it. You can do anything just if you Google it. We’ve been using YouTube and Google to figure out some things. For a while, we were texting our ceramics teacher to ask her to help us with the kiln temperatures. Maybe try not to waste too much time thinking about what you’re going to do and just start doing it. Using Facebook to buy stuff or get something for free is a good tip. That’s how we got our kiln!

Explore Sylvía’s side hustle on Instagram: @studioallsber

Want to share how you’re making ends meet? Email us at with the subject line “Side Hustle.” We’ll happily keep your identity anonymous.

Follow along with the Side Hustle series right here.

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