Creator Spotlight: Virginia Sin

By: Morgan Young

Virginia Sin is a Brooklyn-based multi-disciplinary designer and founder of SIN, a ceramic studio creating unique, functional decor and lighting. We sat down with Virginia to learn more about her unique, functional design, where she gets her inspiration, and what she’s excited about for the future!

What was your path to starting a design business?

I was classically trained as a graphic designer at the ArtCenter College of Design in California. I worked in advertising right out of college and thought I wanted to do the “Mad Woman” life. I loved generating ideas and I was quickly disappointed in realizing that corporate advertising is not as creative as I was imagining. 

One of the things I loved about advertising was building brands. I always knew I wanted to build my own brand and I made a promise to myself to do that one day. I stayed in advertising for over 12 years and started my business, Sin, as a side hustle. Seven years ago I left the industry for good to pursue my business full time.

When did you get started as a ceramicist?

I have a photo that my mom took of me glazing a square ceramic turtle when I was five. I dabbled in ceramics when I was very young. I took two years of ceramics in high school and loved being able to touch this super malleable material. Even when I was a graphic designer, I gravitated towards designing physical objects like books. 

For a long time I didn’t think of myself as a ceramicist by trade. I thought I was just a designer that chose ceramics to be my material. But over the years, I’ve been accepting that it’s my favorite material and main focus. There’s something so special about clay and being able to sketch in clay. It is still one of my favorite things to do.

Virginia Sin

Where do you draw inspiration from? Does functionality play a major role in your process?

Functionality is very important to what we do because it’s not art—it’s design. Form following function and living within our visual language are the pillars of everything that we create.

I find inspiration everywhere. For a while, I was quite nostalgic and found inspiration in my memories. I also get inspired by my travels. I went to various parts of Italy for my honeymoon and was enchanted by some of the really old towns in Matera and the Puglia region. 

I’m excited and inspired by anything new. There’s a wow factor when you’re a child and you do something for the first time. As an adult, you’re still craving that initial feeling of wonder. I find so much inspiration in that. There’s also a notion of leaning into the old and learning from rich history.

It’s important to always be listening and looking around you. There’s inspiration everywhere—even in the everyday mundane.

Reservoir Floor Planter, Speckled
Reservoir Floor Planter, Speckled
Ray Sconce, Terracotta

What customization requests do you most enjoy doing?

My favorite thing is being able to scale up something that we currently make. Recently, someone requested an extra large size of our bestseller, Lunar pendant. As first, we didn’t think we could make it. Collaborating with designers allows us to push the limitations of clay and carve out the space to do things that we don’t always have the time or budget to try out. When designers come to us with crazy ideas it gives us an excuse to try something really ambitious. That’s fun.

SIN Wavee Table Mirror
SIN Wavee Table Mirror

What has been the most fulfilling part of running your business?

It’s definitely the people and the team that we build here at Sin. I’ve learned the difference between building a brand and building a company. They are equally important and I thoroughly enjoy both. You spend so much time working with your colleagues. It’s so important to enjoy the people that you work with and know that you are achieving goals and working collectively. Building a creative community in the US and being able to nurture American artisans has been incredibly fulfilling for me

Do you have any exciting projects in the works that you can tell us about?

We’re playing with different types of lighting that don’t just hang off the ceiling and wall. 😉 And continuing to push the limits of what we can do with clay.

At ICFF, we showed furniture and shelving made out of clay. I want to continue expanding on that. We love the engineering feats that we achieved in that last collection and want to see what more we can do. 

To explore more designs by Sin, shop here.

More From Wescover Hub