Meet the Maker: Tracy Daily from Viola Rose Designs


Viola Rose Designs
As Light filters in through the bulkhead and the wheel spins away, we had the opportunity to join Tracy Daily down in her basement studio to talk clay, business, inspiration and more.

curious but uninvited guests to our studio session

curious but uninvited guests to our studio session

tools of the trade

tools of the trade

Tracy's signature organizational skills are obvious in the studio but can only just barely provide the structured backdrop for the chaos of the creativity going on. We watch as Tracy becomes one with her work and her studio. Clay splatters finding their own patterns across the floor, through the shadows, wrapping themselves around Tracy as she molds the chunk of clay she just unceremoniously threw onto the wheel and has started giving shape.


Tracy has a fascination with the science of ceramics - the ways the glazes behave in the kiln in comparison to what they looked like going in. Watching Tracy work you cant help but see how her work encapsulates her personality - the precision and strength, the control of the process up until going into the kiln where science and happenstance collide, adding their own flavor and mystique to each piece that comes out.

While Tracy clearly revels in the process and the science, she also has fallen in love with teaching ceramics to others at the Nantucket Artist’s Association. 

“I am just here for the fun and to make a mess”
- a student of Tracy’s keeping it real

Tracy is one of those hidden gems of a maker on the island. Turns out that Tracy is another one of us whom ended up on Nantucket at the suggestion of a friend only to immediately fall in love with the island. For Tracy it was the quaintness and the community that kept her here initially but now can truly credit the natural beauty of Nantucket for inspiring her work, keeping her here and pushing her to progress her work beyond what she could have imagined. We had a wonderful afternoon learning about how Tracy works, her eye for perfection and her creative process as well as the actual process of making her pieces from start to finish. The passion, the perfection, the determination and the talent in Tracy's studio were all palpable. It was a delight to watch a master in action. I have been enjoying my morning sip of sunshine in one of her demo pieces - a second-rate piece for Tracy; a beautiful first-rate piece to me in the most stunning turquoise glaze. Like all of Tracy’s creations in that it brings beauty to the simple day tasks, my little demo mug has one of those beautiful combinations of weight, size and color that makes every morning just a little more beautiful.


100MM: Tell us a bit about you - where you grew up and how you ended up here on Nantucket?
I grew up in Poughkeepsie, NY. A friend of mine had come to Nantucket to work for a summer so I came to visit. I loved the quaintness and community so when I had the opportunity, I decided to move here.

100MM: How long have you been making pottery?
25 years now. I was in college studying metalsmithing and making jewelry but my teacher also worked with ceramics and thought I would enjoy working with clay so suggested I take her classes. I loved it immediately and have been doing it ever since.

100MM: What do you love most about what you do?
One of the things I love most is when someone purchases a piece from me or receives one as a gift and they text me with photos of them using my pieces and telling me how much they love it. I also love teaching pottery. I love seeing the kids get excited about what they are making and adding their own creative spark to each piece.

100MM: Is there anyone, any thing or place that acts as a major source of inspiration for your work?
Nantucket itself is full of inspiration with all of the beauty and nature that surrounds us. I like to use earthy and beachy glazes on my work to reflect that along with some of the woven textures like seagrass. I have also had an amazing support group of people who have inspired me and push me to grow as an artist and continue to do what I love. My work has really benefitted from this progressing into pieces I had only thought about before. It has opened so many doors for me.




Name: Tracy Daily
Viola Rose Designs
What she Makes:
Mugs, Bowls, Honeypots, Plates, Platters, Travel Mugs, Candles and more including custom orders

Where to find Viola Rose Designs:
At the moment there is no one particular place where you can find her work but she pops up all over the island at all the key moments from the seasonal fairs to local coffee shops. Keep an eye on her instagram to find out where she is throughout the year. You can find her travel mugs at the Handlebar Cafe and on the Island Kind webshop as well as our month-long Maker Pop-Up as well as the places below.

Handlebar Cafe - limited edition custom travel mugs

Sustainable Nantucket Farmers Market in season

AAN Sidewalk Show July 6th @ the Atheneum

Art and Artisan's Show @ Bartlett's Farm July 18th-21st

AAN various gallery openings

Ladies’ Night @ Bartletts Farm in November

Thanksgiving Show @ Preservation Hall in November

December Delight @ Preservation Hall in December


Viola Rose limited edition bowls, mugs, vases and more. This is our one month Maker Flash Online Pop-Up.

Viola Rose travel mugs and coffee dripper sets at our new ‘eco-goods’ shop