Artist Hessa Al Ajmani often gathers small flowers and fronds from her mother’s garden. She brings the floral arrangements to her home studio, where she presses the groupings onto her earthenware and stoneware pieces, leaving simple and realistic imprints. Based in Ajman in the United Arab Emirates, the artist uses some plaster molds and stamps she creates herself, although each piece is hand-built, preventing any two from being exactly alike. Before firing, she peels off the greenery and petals, revealing the small grooves and divots that she later paints.
Because Al Aljmani doesn’t use a wheel, her pieces typically take hours, or even days, to finish. “I’ve been playing with all sorts of clay (air-drying, polymer, earthenware) since I was a child. I learned how to work with it professionally in university, but didn’t pick up the practice until about a year ago,” she said on her site. “I had to re-teach myself all the basics and do endless tests with clay consistency, form, texture, firings, etc.”
Shaping each ceramic piece and layering the found florals is therapeutic, the artist says, because it requires patience and has fostered an acceptance of and appreciation for imperfection. “My ceramic work speaks of my memories of home and the process of self-healing. Through imprints of flower, leaves, and patterns, it invokes a sense of nostalgia and the idea of home as a space of free thought and personal growth,” she said.
In addition to her own practice, the artist founded the Clay Corner Studio in 2019, which offers ceramics and painting classes. To watch Al Ajmani’s process, check out her Instagram and see which pieces she has available for purchase in her shop.
View this post on Instagram
Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, apply for our annual grant, and get exclusive access to interviews, partner discounts, and event tickets.