Every month we feature a seasonal pick on our blog to find out more about the artists and makers of the beautiful products available in our Shop. For spring we have selected the unique, hand-made ceramics of Katalin Szallas. We chatted to Katalin about what influences her striking work.
Tell us about yourself, how did you become a ceramicist?
I joined a pottery class here in the UK purely to make my own flower pots but I fell in love with the material/clay and with throwing. I had always been interested in crafts and art. I studied art at college in Hungary but I never felt confident making fine art. Functionality gives me purpose and security so my work is not about me, it’s about an object which has a function.
Can you explain about the different techniques you use to create your works?
I work with stoneware and porcelain clay. I mainly make my pots on a potter’s wheel (throwing) or the other technique is when I join rolled out clay sheets together (slab building). When it comes to decoration I build my design with contrasts so I often use black slip and leave it unglazed while on other parts of the pot I use a combination of two different glazes. I also use slip trailing on the porcelain pieces as I find creating texture on a thrown surface very interesting and exciting.
You studied art in Hungary, does this have an impact on the work you create?
Yes, it does. The college building itself was a baroque building. The college library had a baroque fresco on the ceiling. The town, Eger, had little baroque churches as well as a Basilica. Everywhere you looked you could see baroque architecture. Even the cast iron gates had typical baroque designs.
I also very much like Art Nouveau. I come from Budapest where you can find some very nice examples of Art Nouveau which also has influence on my design.
Although my decoration is abstract it’s quite rich and intricate, sometimes dramatic. I don’t think I have ever made a pot I haven’t decorated. I like minimalism but I’m not capable of producing minimalistic design.
Thank you Katalin for speaking with us.
Katalin Szallas Ceramics are available in our Shop. Prices range from £20 - £70.