Hello friend! I'm glad you're here.
I’m Emily Keener, the founder, owner, and maker behind This Is Happiness Studio. I believe we have the power to change the way we feel and how we experience the world. No, not every day is a happy, joy filled day. There are very hard days and moments in life and it is important to feel those emotions as well. But I want my artwork to encourage others to take control of your day, look for the simple pleasures in life, the little treasures, and to run after joy to create a life of happiness. Because we have one life, and I want it to be a happy one.
A Lifelong Love of Art & Ceramics
I have been a maker since I was a child, always finding myself experimenting with new creative outlets. I was fortunate to have wonderful art programs in grade school and was always encouraged and supported in my interests in the arts by my family. As I grew older, I knew that I wanted to pursue the arts and went to Penn State University and studied art education. This is where I was able to fully dive into the arts and experiment with different media, trying out drawing, painting, screen printing, and ceramics. There was just something special about ceramics. It was the place I felt most happy. I remember a particular 8:00 am class my sophomore year that was all the way across campus. I loved it and hated it all at the same time. I still remember slugging through the snow bright and early to catch the bus with my cup of coffee in hand (it was the worst). But as soon as I would get into class I would forget about the time of day and the miserable journey I just took across campus. I was in my zone. With the clay in my hands I was calm and focused and it set the tone for the day ahead.
Turning My Passion Into a Business
After my journey at Penn State I married my best friend, Ish Keener, and moved to Rolla, MO. I got a teaching job there and taught elementary art for four years. It was a wonderful job and I loved my students. I attribute my playful style to my time working with my elementary students. When my husband and I moved back to Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 2014 and welcomed our first son (Weston) into the world, I stopped teaching. My focus at that point was mom first and then artist. Through Facebook trunk shows and child naptime studio hours I grew my little pottery business. In 2016 we welcomed our second son (Max) into the world. I continued to make happy pots and worked hard in my home studio. I loved every minute (for the most part) but started to feel burnt out and overwhelmed trying to meet the demands of custom orders. I was working to check off lists instead of focusing on the creative process. More recently, I have been spending time deep diving into the creative process. In 2021 (with the help of my boys), I made a personal commitment to creative growth. I have been making more space in our home for creativity and it has made me so incredibly happy. I have spent more time in the studio exploring new ideas and experimenting with new techniques and I am loving the results. I have found value in immersing myself in the creative process and creating a personal space for the simple beauties in life. You can learn more about my process, here.
The Studio Today
The boys and I have spent a lot of time in the studio together with our art materials spread across the table, music turned up, and fully immersed in the creative process. Sharing these creative experiences with Weston and Max has transformed our relationships and brought so much richness and depth to our time spent together. Weston is an incredibly hard worker, caring and such a little creative. Max is full of spunk, all boy, but so, so sweet. A song that continued to cycle through the studio during our time spent together was Happy by Pharrell Williams. As Pharrell belts out his lyrics my boys shout out ”What is happiness?!”… and respond to their own question…“this is happiness!!” And This is Happiness Studio was born.
Art with Purpose
The Mission Behind the Mud
From the very beginning of my journey as an artist I have found that art has a very special ability to change a person’s mood and thoughts. A person can look at a piece of art and your thoughts and feeling can be transformed. When you look at and hold my artwork, I want you to feel happiness. My hope is that it sparks joy and brings a smile to your face. I want you to look at it and be reminded of the simple, yet stunning treasures in life.