My name is Ellie Kotsianas Christner and I’m a Knoxville, TN native. Since studying Advertising and Fine Arts at East Tennessee State University I have found my passion in making ceramics. Whether I’m sculpting a play-doh cheeseburger for my tea party or hand building a mallard duck replica with objects found in my backyard, I have been creating and making things with my hands for as long as I can remember. My father has always worked in the furniture industry and specifically with Stickley Furniture, so I have been surrounded by the Arts and Crafts aesthetic. Falling in love with the simple designs and strong attention to details, it is clear where my inspirations come from. As a child I was always playing outside and interacting with nature, so I draw most of my inspirations from things you might find in your back yard.
Being of a petite stature, my parents started calling me “Ladybug” when I was very young. Over the years it was shortened to “Bug” so deciding on the name of my company was obvious. To commemorate this I place a ladybug on almost all my pieces. This forms a signature for my work without signing them, and for me it’s my way of putting my heart and history into every piece while carrying out the love I have for my family and ceramics.
When I was 12 years I contracted a staph infection that left me in a coma for three weeks. While suffering from this serious life threatening bacteria, the doctors began to have doubts of my survival. Thanks to the prayers of friends and family and the amazing staff at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, I was able to pull through. I owe my life to the ETCH so I am insistent on giving back in any way I can. As a small way to thank them for saving my life, when you purchase any of my hand-made pieces I will donate a portion of the sales to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.