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IN CONVERSATION WITH — IAN MCDONALD

November 13, 2014

We sat down with ceramist Ian McDonald after his curated show at Totokaelo to better understand the daily life and work of contemporary artists.

TK — Why ceramics? When did that love affair begin?


IM — I started working in ceramics when I was pretty young, around 18 or so, and I worked as an apprentice to potters where I grew up. I was drawn to ceramics then from a general urge to make things and mostly from the point of view of a functional potter. I was gifted a potters wheel around that same time, and put it in my moms garage where I basically made cylinders and simple forms that I cut up and assembled in the patio. I was less apt to finish work then as I really just liked the work of it all and the searching for form. I sometimes think not much has changed.

TK — What glaze are you loving now?


IM — I don’t know if I’m loving any one glaze now, but I have been working with multiple light layers of glaze recently in order to get more depth in the surface without relying on too much glaze or refiring in order to get a rich surface. I have also been thinking a lot about how the clay behind the glaze affects the surface and glaze, so I have been working with different clays for different pieces.

TK — What’s your favorite piece in the show?


IM — That’s also difficult to answer in particular because I see most of my work in combination with others. In order to be efficient, ceramics to me is a kind of numbers game, where you make many pieces at the same time and in turn get results in bunches. I have been working more with the discrete object recently, but even those are made from multiple parts and a basic vocabulary of shared units around the studio. I’m happy with the extruded pieces as this is something I have been working through for years now, but was never satisfied enough to show them.

TK — Can you tell me something new you learned during the process of preparing for this show?


IM — I learned some technical things this time mostly in terms of joining clay with a slip recipe I had never used. The extruded and stacked pieces have created some pretty serious cracking problems due to too much tension between glaze and clay. Although this sounds like serious shop talk, these technical strategies can in some way take you to places conceptually.

TK — What’s it like being Ian McDonald?


IM — That’s a crazy question! I’m busy with the basics. Whispering in my one year old daughters ear about clouds and her Mom. Cleaning leaves and pine needles around the house.

View the collection, now online exclusively at Totokaelo

  • Pop-up event — Ian McDonald
  • Pop-up event — Ian McDonald
  • Pop-up event — Ian McDonald

Pop-up event — Ian McDonald

October 27, 2014

Ceramist Ian McDonald is presenting forty five new works this Saturday at Totokaelo. Ian will be available from noon to 7pm to answer questions and tell you his story.



Rachel’s Ginger Beer and Totokaelo have collaborated on another flavor. This one is boozy and and called the TK Mule. We’re launching in connection with Ian’s opening. Please join us from 5 to 8 pm and give it a whirl. It’s on us.


Shop Art—Object here

  • Phillip Low
  • Phillip Low
  • Phillip Low

Phillip Low

October 24, 2014

Beautiful from all angles — we just can’t stop staring at these new Phillip Low prism sculptures.


See all exclusive pieces on our Phillip Low page.

  • Totokaelo x Rachel's Ginger Beer

Totokaelo x Rachel's Ginger Beer

July 11, 2014

LAUNCHING SATURDAY JULY 11TH

Totokaelo x Rachel’s Ginger Beer = an exclusive flavor only available in store at Totokaelo.


Thanks Camp Doug for the bottle design!

Celebrate Independence

July 03, 2014

Totokaelo celebrates independence by recognizing a few of our favorite independent thinkers. We’ve paired them with fashion that mirrors their influence.


YAYOI KUSAMA — the artistic polymath


The multimedia artist widely known as the “Queen of Polka Dots” never left home without them.


1. Hakusan by Mori Dotted Relief Pattern Mug


2. Hope Dot Scarf


3. Pierre Hardy Polka Dot High Top


4. Comme des Garcons Polka Dots Printed Wallet


5. Issey Miyake Dotted Pleather Pants



DAVID BOWIE — the chameleon rocker


Whether we’re talking about Hunky Dory, Ziggy, or dapper Bowie, these pieces all fall in line with the artist’s many fashion phases.


1. Acne Gibson Clean Jacket


2. Haider Ackermann Reversible Bomber


3. Dries Van Noten Block Floral Blazer


4. Rachel Comey Silver Solitaire Heel


5. Maison Martin Margiela Heel Replica Boot



PINA BAUSCH — the theatrical dancer


As a pioneer of modern experimental dance, Bausch’s style was consistent —drapey blacks, whites and Yohji Yamamoto.


1. Zero and Maria Cornejo Long Hara Dress


2. Rachel Comey Paloma Dress


3. Tienda Ho 11 Top


4. Rick Owens Lilies Short Sleeve Dress


5. Rick Owens D RK SH D W Rib Tank Dress




Images taken from a press release of Kusama’s 1964 “Driving Image” exhibition, a still from an appearance by Bowie on The Cher Show in 1975, and a photograph capturing a moment from Bausch’s performance of “Café Muller”.

  • Totokaelo End of Season Sale Now in Progress

Totokaelo End of Season Sale Now in Progress

June 09, 2014

The Totokaelo End of Season SALE is now in progress online and in-store.


Follow these links to shop the SALE at Totokaelo and Totokaelo MAN



Store Hours:


Monday to Thursday, 11AM to 6PM
Friday and Saturday, 11AM to 7PM
Sunday, 11AM to 5PM

A Peek at Totokaelo Headquarters

May 16, 2014

A tour of the new Totokaelo office space is now up on Remodelista. In the article, founder Jill Wenger shares the story behind the space as well as her creative vision for the office interiors.


“The [Totokaelo] storefront and newly established office space…were conceptualized and executed by Jill herself. During the first ten years of business, everyone worked out of the stockrooms in the back of the original Totokaelo store. ‘Anywhere there was space, someone claimed it and tossed their laptop down,’ Jill recalls. As work conversation—and concentration—proved increasingly difficult, Jill began to look into acquiring a dedicated office space, a decision, she says that was ‘less about brand evolution and more about gaining much-needed thinking space.’” — Alexa Holtz via Remodelista


A special thanks to Michael A Muller for the beautiful photos.

  • Camille Henrot at the New Museum
  • Camille Henrot at the New Museum
  • Camille Henrot at the New Museum

Camille Henrot at the New Museum

May 08, 2014

French artist Camille Henrot’s first comprehensive exhibition in the US entitled “The Restless Earth” debuts this week at the New Museum in New York City. The exhibition is a collection of Henrot’s recent works, including visual translations of books from the artist’s personal library in the form of ikebana arrangements, a collection of recent video art, ‘hybrid object’ sculptures, and more.


“We hurry through aeons. Things evolve, the world gets complicated. Art and culture, science and starvation, extinction and global warming are all here. First we had drawings, then we had books, and then we had the internet. First came the artists then the scholars, the anthropologists and then the geeks. Henrot seems to submit to no boundaries between art and scholarship, or between one specialisation and another.” — Adrian Searle via The Guardian


“The Restless Earth” runs through June 29th.


— Allison