Monday 7 July 2014


A genius Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector wrote: "I only achieve simplicity with enormous effort." These words I read a few days earlier made me think about my own struggle with simplicity - both in my work and life.

I mentioned already in an earlier post that functionality is very important for my work. However, simplicity is one of the "designer virtues" that is all about the essence of the work – or at least I like to see it that way.

I want my articles on this blog to be simple and interesting. Everything should be said without too much explaining and without unnecessary metaphors. I strive to write economically. What I want to say should be evident and at the same time, there should be little space left for the interpretation.

The best example of simple communication is a recent discussion with my three and a half year old son. When I asked him why he is not eating his fish, he answered: "Because I am not a fish!"

Of course, it is as simple as that. Either he learned somewhere that big fish eat the small ones and, since he is obviously not a fish, he cannot eat it; or it was just a quick excuse of a three year old who didn’t like his meal. I loved his laconic answer and he didn’t have to eat his fish.

I also want my ceramics to be simple, aesthetically pleasing and functional. If I hear people talk about my ceramics as beautiful and simple, I know I am on the right path. I don’t know if one can be born with a simplicity gene or if simplicity is a matter of a hard work. In my case, there is nothing simple about simplicity. On many occasions I ask myself if it is really necessary to work that much just to keep my work simple. Isn’t it a big contradiction to put so much energy, time and passion into the creation just to reach simplicity?

To design a new bowl or a plate, I am usually making many sketches before starting to work. Sometimes my hands are not doing what my creative mind wants them to do. Sometimes it is the smallest deviation in a shape of a bowl that makes my eyes hurt and I have to start from the beginning. Luckily, talking to other artists with the same problem keeps me grounded and makes me feel less alone in my urge for simplicity.

In the darkest moments of my complicated madness for simplicity, I like to think of Meg Ryan and her famous just-got-out-of-bed-and-stretched-my-curls-with-my-fingers haircut. I was so surprised when I read in a gossip magazine (yes I did) that her former husband or lover said that in order to look so girlish-feminine, natural and casual, Meg spends many hours in hands of a professional stylist. There is nothing simple and natural about her curly head.

So, I am OK. My struggle to make simple pots is OK. Also, it is OK to sit in front of the wheel and throw yet another bowl, hour after hour. Can you imagine if I were Meg and I had to sit in front of the mirror for hours?