Iva Polachova is a London based potter specialising in contemporary ceramics, tableware and decorative vessels. The creative process and rhythm of making are crucial to Iva’s work. She draws inspiration from sculptor Constantin Brancusi on the essential in art and is influenced by artist Paul Klee’s thoughts on the artist distilling from nature. Iva’s work combines balance, clearness, fluidity and tactility. She uses a variety of clays ranging from the refined to the coarse – from porcelain to crank.
Iva Polachova is a London-based potter specialising in contemporary ceramics, tableware and decorative vessels. The creative process and rhythm of making are crucial to Iva’s work. She draws inspiration from sculptor Constantin Brancusi regarding the essential in art and is influenced by artist Paul Klee’s thoughts on the artist distilling from nature. Iva’s work combines balance, clearness, fluidity and tactility. She uses a variety of clays ranging from the refined to the coarse – from porcelain to crank.
Iva’s use of ceramic glazes are limited to shades of white with the occasional use of oxides and slips beneath. Using simple ceramic tools – scraper and rasp blades – the tool marks are often left visible under the glaze as a gentle reminder of the handmade. Iva is a hand-builder and uses traditional methods of coiling, pinching and molding to shape her pieces. A process which she feels heightens her physical connection to the work.
1. What motivates you to make?
I am motivated by the joy of engaging with clay and the rhythm of making. I enjoy the focus, the grounding, the stillness, as well as the movement and the flow. I especially savour the moments when a piece “takes off”, grows, and finally finds its balance. I am motivated by the desire to create authentic, contemporary work of quality, character and integrity. I relish the process, discoveries made, and surprises along the way. I would like my pieces to carry and transmit the energy and intent of making. I hope for the work I make to stand the test of time, to delight, to be treasured, to be used, gifted and passed on.
2. What and/or who are you most inspired or influenced by?
The ideas of Constantin Brancusi on the ‘essential’ in art, and Paul Klee’s writing on artists distilling from nature, particularly resonate with me. So does the writing of Agnes Martin on art and beauty i.e. “art is the concrete representation of our most subtle feelings”. All arts play a significant role in my life and work, the influences are accumulative.
3. What is your unique approach to your craft, and how have you honed your skills?
I am a hand-builder using the traditional methods of hand coiling, pinching and molding, sometimes using molds from nature such as shells. I have used a variety of clay over time, from terracotta to porcelain, for their particular qualities. I use very few tools – rasp blades and scrapers – often leaving tool marks visible to highlight the texture and movement of the work, but not to the extent of obscuring the original form.
I have a limited palette of mainly white glazes and occasionally use slips or oxides to highlight, sometimes using these under the glaze. My work ranges from simple bowls, jugs and platters, to decorative vessels and sculptural pieces. I return to certain forms or themes periodically to explore how my approach and perception has developed, changed or refined over time. Every single piece is unique and emerges from the moment of making.
4. What is your definition or proudest moment as a maker so far?
I hold a BA Hons in History of Art, and B-Tech in Art and Design (3d). I show with The New Craftsmen and at three other London galleries, and another in Cornwall. My work has been shown in exhibitions in the UK and other highlights include The New Craftsmen’s pop-up in the Idea Shop in Tokyo, Japan. The Flow Gallery show at The Oriel gallery in Belfast, and Decorex Bowls of Britain exhibition. I also have work in several private collections and my tableware has been featured in Jasmine Hemsley’s book East by West.
5. What is your dream project?
My dream project would be an installation in a modernist house in the UK or abroad, where the range of my work – from domestic to sculptural – could be integrated into appropriate zones of the building. I feel that a modernist villa would be a sympathetic space to place my hand-built wares. The pared-down aesthetic, truth to materials, cohesion of elements, light airy open interiors attract me, as well as the visual connections between interiors and exteriors.
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