Entries in ceramics (12)


Smashing Ceramics

Livia Marin’s series of Nomad Patterns and Broken Things are just sublime. Smashed ceramic vessels appear to be melting into pools of molten clay, puddling over the table surface. Made from ceramic, resin and plaster, they are transfer-printed with patterns in the classic Oriental blue and white style.

The London-based Chilean artist says of her work:

My artistic practice has been characterized by large-scale installations and the appropriation of mass-produced and consumer objects. I employ techniques and strategies that are characteristic of Sculpture, Installation and Process Art. I employ everyday objects to enquire into the nature of how we relate to material objects in an era dominated by mass-production, standardization and global circulation.

By appropriating mass-market objects I seek to offer through the work a reflection on how we particularize our relation to them. I reflect on how, in a secular and materialist society, identities are increasingly designated through the material tokens derived from consumerism. 

Fascinating, beautiful and simply smashing.

See more of Marin’s work on her website, and read an interview with her at Underline Gallery.


The Disgruntled Elf

The Disgruntled Elf :: Loftus // C-Type Plate // No flash Q. When is an elf disgruntled? A. When he is a gnome on a donkey entertaining delusions of grandeur.

Just look at this kitsch ceramic little figure. Even the donkey looks put-upon.  Tolkien never wrote about anything so comically adorable, although this pair does resemble a couple of reluctant adventurers.

I don’t recall how I stumbled upon this figurine on Etsy, but it sure tickled my fancy. I already owned a small stone carving of a donkey/mule/horse that I had bought in the Rif Mountains of Morocco, and decided this little pair would look darling sitting nose to nose with it on my windowsill: a study in contrasts.

A Vintage Touch :: Loftus // C-Type Plate // No flashThey came from the quaint Etsy store Betty And Dot, named after the owner’s two grandmothers. The lovely owner Sherri, surmises the figurine is most probably of 1960s Japanese origin. She very carefully packaged it for a long journey over the ocean, and the figurine arrived safely, tied up with blue ribbon and cushioned amongst the bubble wrap. Sherri included a lovely handmade note (I loved the vintage rainforest photograph) and a vintage posy of berries –a personal touch that makes all the difference with impersonal online shopping. She also has a second Etsy store, Sew Betty And Dot, specialising in vintage sewing supplies.

Here are the donkeys on my windowsill, becoming acquainted. Hee-haw!

Getting Acquainted :: Loftus // C-Type Plate // No flash



I adore these porcelain ice creams by Adelaide artist Wayne McAra. They look absolutely good enough to eat, totally guilt-free (ahem). They celebrate his childhood memories of visiting his grandmother, who was sincerely convicted of the goodness of ice cream, and served a little at the end of every meal.

He also serves these gilt-free, in delicate pastel tints – although I prefer the luxury version myself. 


Coffee For Two

I so much enjoy my afternoon coffee breaks. But the Turkish coffee seems to taste so much better when I drink it out of a fine bone china mug  – little espresso cups are for wimps.

I have a special breakfast mug, but just as I like to change my outfits during the day (kidding), I need to have a special afternoon mug. Recently I’ve kept my eye out, and then yesterday I happened upon these delightful Orla Kiely mugs in the department store David Jones. It took me quite a while to decide which one to get, and when I discovered at the sales counter that they were 30% off, why, I decided to get two!

The retro patterns are so fresh and cheerful, and very inspiring. How cute does it look on the radio below!

Evoke Mio by Orla Kiely Lifestyle Lounge. (Image via Pure)Incidentally, the flocked paper background is the last remnant I have from a series of papers I bought for a photoshoot many years ago. This one complements the mugs perfectly.


Faience – An Ancient Craft

Lotiform Cup, Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 22, ca. 945–715 BCIn Ancient Egypt, the colour blue symbolised the Nile, the waters of heaven and the home of the gods; green evoked the ideas of regeneration, rebirth and, more literally, represented vegetation.

The two colours were utilised in jewellery, in the form of turquoise and lapis lazuli, stones rare and precious in the ancient world. They were also expensive to come by. From about 3500 BC, a material called faience – perhaps expressly invented for the purpose – became a less costly substitute. The Egyptians used faience to create amulets, beads, rings, scarabs, shabti, small dishes and other decorative objects.

A necklace composed from various faience beads and amulets, late 2nd and 1st Millennium BCFaience is a non-clay ceramic with a glossy, vitrified surface. Made from fine-ground quartz or sand mixed with additives, it is glazed using various methods, and finally fired. Initially, copper was added to achieve a turquoise colour, and manganese for black. Around 1500 BC – at the beginning of glass production – additional colours were created using cobalt for blue, manganese for purple, and yellow from lead antimonate. It was not an easy substance to work with, softening during construction, and so moulds were often used. Beads, for instance, were made as solid forms, holes being drilled after firing.

The unique look of faience, the limited colour palette imposed by the technology of the time, and not least the delicate intricacy of the designs, are what give Ancient Egyptian jewellery its distinctive appearance. Today faience jewellery is precious in its own right.

Detail of a necklace composed from various faience beads and amulets, late 2nd and 1st Millennium BC