I've always been fascinated with the art of ceramics, imagining the ways it's been carefully wheeled and sculpted, each piece is different depending on the artist's mood, pressure, material, aesthetics, it's always filled with stories.
Few months ago while I was surfing through Instagram, I came across this beautiful page of KANA and was immediately drawn by the way the bowls and plates were made with some rough and raw finishing, almost feel like it was intentional (and indeed it was!).
Over a lovely, quiet weekend morning, after a brief walk along the busy Broadway market with my friend, we popped by Ana's studio to have a chat over tea. The studio was located just off the street but as we walked along the river, we immediately sensed a change of atmosphere, something quiet, tranquil and so was Ana's studio. It was quite dark in the morning at the studio, but we caught Ana painting her beautiful pieces under sunlight - slowing painting stroke by stroke - which she referred as a meditation for her (that sounds like a perfect morning meditation actually!)
Looking at Ana's beautiful work and listening to her about the journey from fine art to ceramics and day of life as a ceramist (funny hearing how a ceramist's schedule is almost dictated by her kiln!), it made me realized how lucky it is for one to find passion in what they do, there is nothing else that can replace it and you can almost feel it when you touch the pieces - the dedication, passion and attention.
Of course, I couldn't help but bought one of her pieces - Udon bowl before we leave. There is something very different about Ana's work to the way you see them on a website, as to you actually feel it in person. The way it weighed down your hands feeling grounded, the raw texture of the bowl felt by your hands and the intentional imperfections of fingerprints, cracks and dripped paint, you can almost visualize her process of making the pieces in your head.
More from our convo with Ana - founder of KANA London:
How did it all started with Kana London? What sparked you to start in the first place?
Kana London was born fortuitously as a result of my training in sculpture & my background in fine art, eventually becoming a fully developed project in London in 2012. Sculpting and an affinity for working with clay led me to wanting to apply the principles of my art work - the tactile, hand built aesthetics, the traces of my fingerprints and hands on the surface - into functional ceramics.
We love the way your ceramics present a very raw/rough finish, is there a story/inspiration behind the technique using hand building for your ceramics?
My approach to work is experimental and playful, as I never follow a procedure, and invent new recipes daily. I work with a unique mixture of clays and mix my own glazes, often turning my back on traditional ceramic practice. Hand building, rather than turning on the wheel, further emphasizes the individuality of each piece.
Why hand building- I believe that it brings back the human touch, that have been taken away with industrialization. Mass produced objects became soulless and everything is replaceable and not made to last or to be loved and kept for a while. I love making object that I hope will be passed on by generations, they will create stories, carry stories and become part of them. I think that you can feel my work have been touched by hands in the process of making.
What/who is your everyday muse?
My friends. I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded with some amazing inspiring, beautiful and incredibly talented women. They are following their passion and making some amazing work. We feed each other with support, strength and inspiration.
We’re curious about you as well – what is a typical day in your life like?
My days are hectic and unpredictable, I don’t have a set routine in any way. I love to wake up early and go for early yoga session which sets me for the day. As much I love to have a slow morning with cup of coffee and start my day from home catching up on emails and go for breakfast with a fiend. I try to be in the studio early and very often I would end up having late nights so I would try to treat myself with lunch break or a swim in the lido. I love diversity of my days, sometimes I am meeting clients and discussing commissions, run to post office, making work it has so many stages that a day is never the same. I love days when I am in the studio alone late at night, and have chance to play with new designs… But love working with my girls (assistants) as those days are more relaxed and fun.
I was also incredibly excited to connect my friend with Ana, super stoked and looking forward to their collaboration. For the meantime, check out her beautiful work here as well.