Introducing ceramicist, Branka Vrhovski-Stanton
My interest in ceramics started with adult education classes, first in Croatia and then in UK. That was followed by a Diploma in Ceramics at Goldsmith College London, and subsequent self-employment as a ceramic maker and pottery instructor at various places.
A few years after, I started to write what I then understood as an article on the basic nature of such works in ceramics, that treat the hand built container type shape as a theme on its own. That “article” soon managed to take the place of my making: something unimaginable to me before it actually happened, as ceramics was my dream-come-true kind of work. The writing took me on an epic journey, swallowing the next seventeen years and then some more, its wheels dragging as I was trying to disengage. Though still a part of my life, I no longer write except an occasional presentation that has so far not found its way into print.
In order to disengage myself from this venture and its all-consuming nature, I enrolled again in adult education classes to help me re-start with the making. When I was ready, my starting point, as before, has been the vessel form.
The works that I am showing now result from this period. All are hand built from rolled slabs of clay and/or coiled. They are painted with slips, engobes and glazes. Some are more planned then others. They present my exploration of this particular shape from three different yet intermingling aspects: pottery, expressive and painterly container oriented ceramics. How the work will continue, is yet to be seen.
Which other artists do you like or find particularly interesting?
In ceramics, mostly the makers whose work is centred on the empty ceramic container type work. Hans Coper, Gordon Baldwin, Alison Britton, Ken Eastman, Marit Tingleff, to mention a few.
Painting interests me too (I was a self-taught painter before encountering ceramics). My latest interest is Roger Hilton’s work.
Why is making art important to you?
It is my therapy as is so often said, but also my need and sometimes -or often- my headache too. It is, as also said, primeval: it gathers the earth, the heat, the water and apprentices poor ceramicists who bring their offerings to the kiln for the kiln’s gods to decide!
It is also, for me, the primary form of all human arts: its primary content, the space we live in and that surrounds us and its mental counterpart, the consciousness, both simultaneously the most distant to our senses and the most intimately involved with us, it is also the content that potentially contains all.
What would help you to develop your art further in the future?
Time, as I am starting again and not in my prime, and opportunities to exhibit.