ceramics

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Craft

Derpy Animals by Ceramicist Nastia Calaca Channel Peculiar Storybook Characters

August 13, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Nastia Calaca, shared with permission

As a child, Nastia Calaca dreamed of illustrating the magical stories she devoured. Five years ago, she tried her hand at ceramics and soon was sculpting physical iterations of the anthropomorphized characters she loved. Her current collection of handmade creatures includes dopey pups and startled anteaters that are crafted with distinct personas in mind. Calaca paints the whimsical pieces in a tight color palette and opts for textured surfaces by adding bumpy patches to match a chameleon’s scales or tiny curves for a moose’s fur. To give one of the quirky creatures a new home, check out the ceramicist’s Etsy shop and see how the playful pieces are made on Instagram.

 

 

 



Craft

Ravenous Frogs and Surprised Bears Form an Adorably Expressive Ensemble of Ceramic Creatures

August 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Helen Burgess, shared with permission

Helen Burgess, who works under the moniker nosey mungo, crafts a playful troupe of characters with endlessly diverse expressions: there’s a flock of startled chickens, a bulging rain frog sporting a dramatic frown, and a whale duo grinning with contentment. Imbued with a bit of whimsy, Burgess’s clay creatures are derived from their real-life counterparts. The ceramicist skims encyclopedias to find lesser-known animals to sculpt, sometimes focusing on endangered species in order to raise awareness. Living and working near Brighton, Burgess creates the adorable critters in small batches, which she shares on Instagram.

 

 

 



Craft

Mushrooms Peek Out from Whimsical Vessels Crafted by Ceramicist Abby Dawson

July 16, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Abby Dawson, shared with permission

Based in southern Michigan where she runs Divine Pine Studios, ceramicist Abby Dawson creates sleek mugs and bowls sprouting with dense pockets of fungi. Adorned with three to four red-capped spores, each whimsical vessel is sculpted on a wheel or by hand, and very few are recreated. The ceramicist sees her fully functional vessels as both an intimate way to connect with others and as a reminder of environmental webs, describing her work as “inspired by repetitive patterns in nature and the commitment to art as a spiritual/therapeutic practice.”

Dawson is releasing a new collection of spore-laced vessels this weekend, and follow future releases on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Multi-Layered Ceramics by Artist Heesoo Lee Express the Movements of Land and Sea

July 9, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Heesoo Lee, shared with permission

Heesoo Lee has spent years carefully layering blades of grass, pine trees, and cherry blossoms to construct botanic entanglements that crawl across ceramic mugs and bowls. Inspired by seasonal woodlands and aspen forests, the Montana-based artist recreates bright pockets of landscapes that capture small motions, like falling fronds or rustling branches. “There is movement in trees, but it is slow and subtle, a leaf in wind, the slow growth of new leaves in spring,” she says.

While Lee has continued this tradition with many of her recent pieces, she’s expanded her source material to the ocean. For seven years, the artist lived in Maui, where she often surveyed the water. “I could sit on a beach all day and watch the waves, observe them, and feel calmed by them but also respectful of their energy and force,” she says. The memory has inspired a textured piece that swells upward to form a cavernous bowl. “Even in a small object, the waves are powerful and convey so much. For me, the waves connote freedom, the freedom to express myself and take risks,” the artist writes.

Diverging from land posed new challenges in Lee’s process. For landscapes, the artist repeats elements in layers to create a fully formed piece, but the same technique didn’t translate to water. “The first time I tried to make waves I failed. I failed over and over and over after that. There were cracks, pieces broke off,” she says. “I realized the feeling of making a wave is so much different from making a landscape.” Instead, Lee retrained her hands to follow the movement of the water, using slip casting, carving, and a series of manual techniques to capture its energy and force. Her color palette changed from amalgamations that evoked seasons to a precise set of blues.

Despite her forays into aquatic forms, Lee maintains an affinity for grassy fields and windswept boughs, which she explains:

My seasonal work, landscapes that focus on all four seasons, are still a mainstay of my practice. The memories that fuel the images are so powerful for me, and it gives me great pleasure to share my interpretation of those memories with people… I have heard from people that drinking from a cup I made helped them channel their own memories of the outdoors and the seasons, even during a time when they are stuck inside.

To purchase one of the artist’s organic works, follow her on Instagram, where she often shares shop updates, in addition to early looks into her process.

 

 

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Art Craft

Rosy, Voluptuous Lips and Moody Faces Enliven Ceramic Vessels by Artist Tatiana Cardona

July 2, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Tatiana Cardona, shared with permission

Tatiana Cardona’s ceramic planters, mugs, and vases might pucker up for a kiss but their lips will never tell. The Miami-based artist, who runs the shop Female Alchemy, creates playful vessels featuring pursed lips lined in reds and pinks and minimal faces with moody expressions. “The concept of lips was inspired by the feminist movement in the ’60s-’70s where red lipstick stood as a symbol of protest. The work has since then evolved into a positive and fun way to promote femininity in a sacred and ancient medium such as ceramics,” she writes in a statement.

Cardona tells Colossal she hopes that her work evolves beyond the solitary vessels into “a space where female creativity is encouraged and nurtured.” The artist will release her next collection Summer of Love on Instagram and has some sticker packs available in her shop.

 

 

 



Design

Ceramic Artist Lalese Stamps Creates 100 Wildly Varying Mug Handles in 100 Days

June 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Lalese Stamps

While some of Lalese Stamps’s mugs might be safe to grab before you’re fully caffeinated, exercise caution with others. Last year, the Columbus-based ceramicist, of Lolly Lolly Ceramics, embarked on a 100 Day Project, her personal challenge to design dozens of new handles for her monochromatic mugs. A graphic designer by day, Stamps recently completely the impressive undertaking, and the result is an incredible array of knobs, spikes, and circular grips. See the full collection, in addition to videos diving into her process, on Instagram. (via Jessica Hische)