I have been dealing with artistic ceramics and sculpture in ceramics since the second year of my studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. Then I started to learn about the properties of this material under the supervision of Ms Marita Benke-Gajda, both from the practical and theoretical side. Since then, I have managed to develop my own style, based on openwork constructions, which is used primarily in the formation of busts glazed in various colors. These have already gained recognition on the sculpture market. I try to use the full potential of this technique to fulfill my artistic aspirations. Ceramic sculpture connects the present with the past, giving the opportunity to create contemporary, sophisticated works. For me, it is a very modern sculptural material
I have always believed that a man can leave his scratch in wood with a chisel, saw or an ordinary pocket knife. A trace carved in a hard material will speak and testify to our separateness and presence in a given place. In the artistic dimension, this translates into a search for a new, original form. In my work, I try to describe interpersonal issues. I am looking for answers to questions about our existence in society. I wonder how important our individual existence is, how important are the traces left that link us directly to the past. A human trace made in wood will be destroyed by fire, turned to ash. What was previously the carrier of meanings will be destroyed. The destructive fire is a creative tool in artistic ceramics, it will perpetuate the forms brought to life by means of its antithesis – water – made of extremely unstable materials. I treat the material of ceramics in a symbolic way. Some people are as fragile and vulnerable in their spiritual and aesthetic as he is. That is why it is there that I create my sculptures.
Ceramic sculpture – history and the process of its creation
Already the Greek keramos (clay minerals) brings to mind specific associations that will inherently be associated with the phenomenon of ceramic sculpture. Ceramics is derived from the earth element, but it differs from stone products by a long process of processing. Thus, ceramics is a natural and artificial product – it comes from the interior of the earth, but as a result of human interference it acquires a new quality. It is a material obtained thanks to the appropriate mixing of ingredients (e.g. clay, quartz, kaolinite, etc.), then formed, dried and subjected to multiple treatments at very high temperatures. In this way, the mixture burned in the fire crystallizes and solidifies. Ceramics is also one of the fields of art that combines tradition and modernity. It repeats the same principles that have been used by a multitude of creators for thousands of years.
Ceramics is one of the oldest artistic techniques of mankind. Suffice it to mention the famous, very graceful figure of Venus of Dolní Věstonice (approx. 30,000 BC), which was made in a process, then still very primitive, ceramic firing. Interestingly, many ancient cultures themselves came up with the idea of firing clay, which naturally resulted in a variety of techniques and fruits of this work. And this is how we distinguish pottery from ancient Japan (13,000 BC), later popular in Korea and the Amur Delta, from those from China (20,000 BC). Pottery from the Nile Delta and North African Mali (10,000 BC) will be significantly different from the pottery produced by the Mesolithic culture centered around the headwaters of the Bug River (7,000 BC). All these endeavors are probably linked by a typically human ambition to record what is impermanent, to capture in strong forms the instability of the ground, perhaps even the transience of organic life. Therefore, anyone who claims that ceramics was first created as a utility material is wrong, because its first preserved forms were small sculptures.
Ceramic sculpture is one of the varieties of artistic ceramics, which differs from utility and industrial ceramics not only by the genesis and purpose, but also by the production process. While industry is about the durability of materials, about the identity of the elements made, and finally about the functionality of tools and parts often hidden for the human eye, ceramic sculpture is the art of giving a unique, far from pure utility form, processed, as if it were not, in an industrial process. Ceramic sculptures are fired in a furnace at temperatures around 1080-1200 degrees Celsius (for comparison, in industrial ceramics it reaches up to 2000 degrees). The pre-firing processes for clay sculpting and drying are time consuming and require a lot of attention. The fragility of the material makes the production of ceramic sculptures and artistic ceramics more ambitious and careful than in the case of hard stone sculptures.