Artist in Residence - The AKI roomdivider

Earthenware ceramics by Ekaterina Semenova

Every once in a while, we open the doors of The Loft to an artist whose work draws us closer to the edge of our seat, it’s what we lovingly call the Artist in Residence series. So we can take a look up close into their craft and dive into what really makes them tick. This time we invited ceramic artist Ekaterina Semenova to share with us her craft and what inspires her work.

Welcome to The Loft, please introduce yourself.

Ekaterina Semenova working on her earthenware ceramics in our The Loft showroom in Amsterdam.

Hi! My name is Ekaterina Semenova. I’m originally from St. Petersburg in Russia, my studio is now based in Amsterdam. In 2016 I graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven with the project I will be showing here today.

What materials do you usually work with and what did you bring today?

At the moment most of my work revolves around ceramics, I use earthenware for my research and the final products. I love to work with natural materials like clay and natural ways of glazing ceramics. Today I would like to share with you how I make my tableware with a special slip casting technique and the way how I glaze my ceramics, with milk! By dipping earthenware into different dairy products, various shades of silky brown appear after baking. I call it dairy glaze because when milk penetrates the pores of earthenware it creates a protective waterproof layer, like an actual glaze. Depending on the type and fatness of the milk I can achieve different colour variations.

Which artist or designer is a source of inspiration for you?

In my design process I tried to look into history and my native tradition and find inspiration there. I think it’s very fascinating! I often get inspired by visiting ethnic and anthropological museums. I love to go out in to nature or to botanical gardens, I’m so inspired by colours, shapes and textures in nature! But if I have to mention names I would say Ivan Bilibin – Russian fairy tale graphic designer and illustrator , or Boris Kustodiev’s work. When it comes to contemporary artists I very much admire Anish Kapoor, Tadao Ando, Carol Bove, and the incredible work of Wes Anderson.

If you could invent a name for an art movement you belong to, what would it be?

That’s an interesting question, I would say the Wabi Sabi movement – the art of imperfection. It’s very much about the appreciation of natural processes. I actually think The Loft would also belong to this category.

What kind of work do you usually make and how was it different today?

I work on my own projects as well as commissioned work. I have my little studio in Amsterdam where I do research and experiment with colours, ceramics and other materials. I always start always very intuitively, and see where it brings me. I love to keep it open and inspiring at first and narrow it down to a product in the end. Today was different already because I was working in such a beautiful space! Today at The Loft I wanted to try some new types of milk I brought with me, I did a lot of tests with it, also by adding some food colouring to see if it makes any difference. And the results which came from the oven were very successful.

What will you tell your friends about The Loft?

That they should visit it. Its such a beautiful and lovely space!

All pictures by Wouter van der Krol.

Words by Sara Martín Mazorra.