Sculptor, ceramicist, rule breaker, Ana Kerin is a truly modern artist and the founder of local ceramics brand Kana London. You may remember her from our previous Q&A here, spied her recent collaborations with Glasshouse favourite Alexa Coe, or seen her range displayed in pride of place at Basics Store this summer, including her adorable pinch pots each featuring a hand carved and charming obscenity.
‘Nude’ is the latest collection from Kana London, featuring beautiful new textures and shapes that we cannot wait to fill our kitchen with. To celebrate the launch, we caught up with Ana to find out more about the inspiration behind the new pieces and to get an insight into her thoughts on art in the home.
There’s been a continual rise in interest in pottery and similar hands-on crafts in recent years. Do you feel this is perhaps a backlash towards the modern, more digital society?
I think that society has come full circle. Both consciously and subconsciously we are seeking tactile experience in life. We value objects that have had time and energy invested in the process of making them with honest ingredients. We search for a nostalgic and almost romantic value in things.
You’ve always spoken about your work as being ‘tactile’. Why is this so important to you?
I see my work as being very much related to the body. I do want my work to be touched, to be used and to provoke emotion. My work shows traces of the human touch and kinetic energy that have been used in the process of making, and I think that’s part of the value. For me this personal approach is very important because it is how I perceive world around me. I am an incredibly tactile learner and I feel like I sense the world through touch more than anything else; my hands are my eyes. It’s an important stance for me in a world where everything is communicated to us through visual stimulation and images, and in a world where we aren’t allowed to touch anything or anyone. I think being so disconnected from the sense of touch is a huge breaking point in human perception.
Can you tell us a little about the inspiration for your new creation?
I have decided to go back to my sculptural approach to work. As a sculptor I am firstly interested in material and form. It’s simple, raw and complex. The seeds for this collection have been planted quite few years ago - I have been developing the samples for about 2 years. I have re-designed the full 21-piece dining sets in 4 different shades of clay, each coated with clear glaze to expose the natural colour of the clay. It does look a little like different shades of skin and this was playing on my mind when I was choosing a name for the collection. Skin felt too obvious. Naked felt more on point. The raw clay is stripped naked of any artificial color and in a metaphorical sense the collection brings you back to the essence of natural materials.
There are also 16 sculptural pieces in classic shapes, and 6 that are pinched and even more raw. They are pure, simple and sexy.
What are your thoughts on perfection in art?
In historical sense of art, I can see that perfection had some function. “The action or process of improving something until it is faultless” was a way of seeking the “truth” and mimicking the beauty of the nature.
In contemporary sense however, striving for perfection makes no sense to me. It’s not relevant.
Where do you think the lines blur between art and practical objects?
It’s something I like to challenge, and I think the crossover is all in the perception of the viewer. An object can elevate your everyday life whilst being a part of your everyday routine. It’s imagination that evokes the emotion associated with art.
How do you imagine your work being used in the home?
As often as possible. For all your favorite every day rituals.
Your style often goes against the traditional ‘rules’ of pottery. Do you feel this lack of tradition allows for more creativity?
Yes, most likely. I am free of rules and I am not working against anything. It’s purely because I am too curious to do something same way twice and too impatient to commit to repetition. This way of working on its own leads to constant innovation.
How important is collaboration when it comes to being an artist in London?
I think it’s a very subjective and personal choice. Some artists are lone wolves whereas I love working in collaboration with other people. I believe in cross pollination of ideas and London does make it easy as there are so many creative people here. For me collaboration is like traveling. It gets me excited and inspired.
When you’re not in the studio, what do you do to relax?
I love swimming and yoga, reading on my sofa or going for dinner with friends.
Ultimate life lesson?
Patience and self-love. It’s the quietest revolution.
All images: Sarah Victoria Bates for Kana London
Interview by Phoebe Grace Ede