We are especially excited to show you Cléo's work today, because she is a graphic designer, just like the writers of this blog! Subsequently, one of our favorite things about her work is how she's able to bring her knowledge of design and her personal design style into her ceramic pieces. You can tell through every work of art she creates that she has an amazing grasp on the principles of two-dimensional design, and is able to translate those principles flawlessly and gorgeously onto a three dimensional piece!
How did you come to be interested in working with clay?
I'm a graphic designer and I spend most of my day working on a computer, on orders/commands so I felt a strong need to create freely aside from my work. I was used to drawing already, but at one stage I felt I wanted something even more palpable/touchable so I got back to clay, a material I had not touched since college. Back then I was very frustrated because we only used clay for nude modeling and never had any piece fired, when this is precisely a point that I find so appealing in ceramics: it is a medium that allows you to create potentially eternal pieces! So, I did research and found night courses very close to my place and that was the start, 4 or 5 years ago now.
Back then my first motivation was sculpting, modeling, creating in 3D, I was not attracted by pottery at all: wheeltrowing and creating utilitarian pieces likes plates, cups, etc. But along the way, I quickly went back to my "first" discipline: decoration and surface design, applying patterns and illustrations on clay pieces. And seeing people throw perfect pieces on a wheel finally drew my curiosity and at one point I felt I wanted to try and learn wheel throwing and it totally caught me, though I remain a hobbyist.
What inspires your work?
Nature is my first inspiration I guess: plant shapes are a very strong influence, and animals too, but I tend to mix and even hybridize both with human elements. I like to create a fantasy world, midway between childhood dreams and nightmares (I'm a very anxious person). Folk arts are also a strong influence.
What’s your favorite thing about clay?
It can last forever, it's a path to eternity and yet it is so fragile. And it offers endless creative possibilities: sculpting, decorating (2D approach)... You could spend a lifetime exploring the options/possibilities offered by each stage of the work and each component: the clays themselves, decoration, glazing, firing...
What has been the most challenging part of pursuing ceramics?
Which AMACO products do you always find yourself going back to? How do these products speak to your work?
Definitely the Velvet Underglaze colors, the Electric Blue in particular, as well as the Wax Resist. The combination of both products help me achieve crisp artworks. They offer infinite possibilities.