In the second of our series of interview blogs with our ‘20 Makers, 20 Objects’ exhibitors, we talk to Eva Radulova of ERADU Ceramics. We asked Eva to explain her choice of object for the showcase and to tell us about her techniques, inspiration and workspace. Read on to find out more!
Please tell us about your product for the ‘20 Makers, 20 Objects’ showcase and how it came into being?
The Sake set is part of a collection called Reflect. It represents the everlasting trend, the fusion of east and west. I found inspiration in Japanese prints. Kanagawa wave is the main incentive. Although it is a two-dimensional image, I saw its three-dimensional reflection into a bottle and a cup. I borrowed the tripod as a usual shape. Finally, I added grey hues sparked by industrial material like concrete.
Why a sake set? What other objects do you want to make and why? What does your own dinner table look like?
As I mentioned earlier, the set is part of a tableware collection. There was a sushi set developed first. The sake shape came as a response to the sushi. It did not take long for the Everyday dining set to emerge to fulfill the collection.
Developing new shapes is what fascinates me the most as part of the creating and designing process. I am always looking for a new approach when designing a shape. Although it is a challenge, considering ceramics is the oldest craft, which I enjoy taking.
My table looks quite eclectic. Of course, there are a lot of my pots, mainly shapes in development. Also, there are some vintage plates as well as pots made by fellow ceramists I have collected over time.
How is the object made and where? Does anyone else get involved in the process – colleagues or suppliers? Are there many stages? How many do you think you have produced to date – or is it a one-off?
The object is made by slipcasting the shape in my studio in Southeast London. Slipcasting is one way of mass-producing ceramics. The process is pretty straight forward. There is a plaster mould that gets filled up with porcelain slip. After a while, the plaster absorbs water from the liquid porcelain so it forms the shape. The excess material is poured out. After further absorption of water the shape is removed from the mould and gets to a stage called leather hard, which means that the shape is firm enough to handle without causing distortion. After it dries completely it is fettled which means that all the imperfection are removed by sponging it. Then comes the first firing which is called the bisque. Once it is over, the pot gets glazed and is fired for the second and final time in this case. In all honesty, many people are enjoying the sake set which makes me really happy but I’m not able to tell how many I’ve made.
What is the trickiest thing about the development and making process, and what is the most satisfying?
The trickiest part is making the plaster mould. For this, you need a plaster model of the shape which brings a lot of joy making it. Well, things rarely go wrong but it does happen once in a while. That means you ruin the shape. Therefore, you might have to start from the beginning as happened to me on several occasions. It is part of the job. However, the most satisfying is to see the first cast to come out of the mould. That is the moment of truth.
Tell us about your workspace – where is it, does it have an outlook or view onto anything, what are the pros and cons of working in it?
You will find my workshop in southeast London. It has big windows and sits in between two buildings. There is a lot of greenery and skies open wide on top of it. It is on the ground floor. I get a lot of people walking by, stopping by chatting to me and admiring my work. I find it quite inspiring!
Do you have a favourite tool or process, and is it/they used in the making of this object?
I love all my tools at every stage of the process! I see them as my extension. If I have to choose, there are two particular knives that I cherish. There is a sentiment about them. I have them from a person that taught me a lot about making ceramics. And, they get involved in the making of every single piece made in my studio!
What ambitions do you have for the future of this product and work like this?
There are new colours I am developing at the moment. I would love to give the sake set a fancy twist very soon.
Eva’s portrait is courtesy of Barbara Chandler.