Sunday 29 September 2013

A Compulsive Behaviour

If you are flea market visitor, you may have noticed that there two kinds of people rummaging through the stands with ceramics. Some visitors take the delicate ceramics in their hands and immediately turn them around to check the potter’s stamp or signature, while others don't.

The people who do this are either potters themselves or some really big experts or art collectors on their flea market treasury hunt. I see the same pattern with visitors in my studio.

I am not talking about having the pot in your hands for five minutes and then checking out the stamp. What I am talking about is some kind of tick or compulsive behaviour that just forces one to immediately turn that piece of ceramics and look at its bottom.

I definitely belong to the first category. It doesn’t mean that I am judging the pot on the basis of the stamp. If I don’t like the piece I am probably not going to take it in my hands in the first place. In my case it is the curiosity and interest in what other things the stamp will tell me about that piece.

Even my two and a half year old son turns every cup upside down to look for his Mama’s stamp. Well, I just realized that there is a third group of people that are doing it: potter’s kids.

The problematic part starts when this happens outside of the flea market or some artist’s studio. Imagine it taking place in a fancy restaurant with your partner on the opposite side of the table. The candle flickering, the elegant wine glasses glittering, the gentle sound of piano caressing your ears. He holds your hands, looks deep into your eyes and the discreet waiter serves a tasty meal.

What do you do first? You let your hands loose to lift your plate high to check the stamp underneath. Have you ever done this? You can certainly confuse a bunch of people this way.

This is the stamp I have been using to mark my pottery for many years. What does the danci mean? Well, this is a subject for another post.

Thursday 19 September 2013


Last time I made ceramics with a zebra pattern was in Vienna, around 13 years ago. It was a very big order for two huge tableware sets. I wanted the zebra pattern to be seen from both the upper side and from the bottom of the plates and bowls. So I used a special technique whose result looks similar to the ceramics made with the nerikomi method. Unlike the nerikomi technique, I didn’t build big multiple coloured marbled blocks of clay out of which I could have cut the patterned slabs. Instead I cut each zebra stripe separately and attached it to the vessel. This way, I had more control of the pattern. I used white and red stoneware which both turn darker when glazed with the clear glaze. The white clay becomes light beige and the red one dark brown. This colour combination looks a bit warmer than a black and white original zebra. The whole process was a lot of work. An easier way would have been to paint the zebra stripes with an underglaze. 

This zebra egg is a part of my giant garden egg series. Even though I had a decade of neglecting this stripy pattern I actually love it a lot. This zebra egg looks so sweet in my garden. My two and a half years old son asked me several times already when am I preparing a zebra fried egg for dinner.

Here are few photos of my old zebra dinnerware.


Monday 9 September 2013

Cutting Edges

I have noticed that I had presented only few of my latest work. One of the reasons is that I am experimenting a lot and some of my latest creations need to be improved first. During my old Vienna days an experienced potter told me that when she is developing a new form she is usually counting with six months to achieve the result she was aiming for. First, I thought it is quite a long time. Now I know better: Not only the creation process is time consuming, but also the evaluation of the finished product. 

When I have a new finished product in my hands and even if it looks exactly as I wanted it to be, I still need some days, weeks or months until I get familiar with it. At this stage, this newly created piece of pottery is very vulnerable and shy – or I am treating it this way. In some quiet moments I may just look at it, take it in my hands and feel its weight and texture. Suddenly, I am using it as a teacup or a soup bowl to check its functionality. All this time, I am keeping it for myself and I am not feeling comfortable showing it to anyone. 

I really like faceted and geodesic forms so I was playing with it a lot lately. I like how faceted surfaces scatter the light. They look organic, geometrical, futuristic and mystical at the same time - depending on light and the point of view. In the meantime, I have noticed that the web is rather full of faceted objects in architecture, fashion, jewellery, ceramics, and furniture. So here are some pictures of my latest experiments and my contribution to this trend. 

First I made these small espresso cups which I threw on the wheel and then carved the facets. They are small but still monumental since they are quite thick. Even though I prefer to work thin with porcelain, I like its thickness here: This way the thick porcelain keeps the espresso warm.

For the bigger faceted bowls I decided to build a plaster mould so that the pieces can be thinner and lighter. The clear glaze makes the edges a bit softer and they look less geometrically.

Moreover, the faceted porcelain beads are something I enjoyed working with lately. I think I will not get tired of cutting edges so soon.