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Welcome to Ceramic Review

Ceramic Review is the magazine for contemporary and historical ceramics, ceramic art and pottery.


Ceramic Review Issue 317

September/October 2022

Ceramicist and fashion designer Lola Mayeras tells us about the influences behind the creation of her whimsical clay universe

Lola Mayeras 'Car Shoot' - Photography; NAHMLOS Bram van Dijk

My work is a mix of playful forms often inspired by the 1960s, combined with joyful and vibrant colours. I try to approach my design process in a spontaneous and playful way. A lot of my way of working is connected to my previous career as a fashion designer. Before starting to draw new shapes, I like to work on a rough collage of all the things that have caught my eye in the months prior to that moment. Paintings, photographs, furniture, etc. Once put together, this mood board then becomes the inspiration for my designs. 

 

During my childhood I was introduced to the art of making ceramics in my fathers pottery studio. Through him I discovered the beauty in handcrafted objects and design. Later on, I worked as a stylist and chief designer for a fashion brand in Paris. During the first Covid-19 lockdown of 2020, I had the opportunity to return to my childhood home and rediscover the workspace of my father. Through experimenting with clay, I saw the potential of ceramics, I found new means of expression and felt that I could transcribe the creative process from designing a clothing collection, to a ceramics collection. 

 

Two years ago, I made my first collection of ceramic pieces. Those designs all came from a mood-board full of 1960’s designs, pop-art and photographs. Looking back at the final designs now, I can see how it is a mix of all the things that I was fascinated by around that time. Growing up with a ceramist father obviously influenced me a lot. Even though our designs and way of working is very different, he influences me in the way that I approach my work. At the moment I am living between Paris and the South of France, but I realise more and more that my taste in colours, shapes and life in general is highly influenced by the ambiance and light in the south.

For my next collection I have revisited some of my old fashion drawings. This collection will be coming out in the next few months and I think people will see the references to the iconic shapes and details of clothing. Once I am happy with the mood-board, I start to draw and sketch ideas with pen and paper, during this process I try not to think too much about the production process as I don’t want that to influence the way I visualise shapes. Before starting to work on the actual prototypes, I try to find a correlation in the drawings that I have made, which pieces could work together as a collection, and the shapes that will work best in a particular colour. 

 

After choosing the pieces on paper I start to make the first prototypes in my studio. Depending on the shape of the drawing, I will experiment with different production techniques. The Glove-Vase for example is a piece that I stamp and then sculpt afterwards, the laundry bottles are made by pouring liquid clay into a mould. Some of my designs are also produced by attaching turned and moulded pieces together, like the Ears-Vase. The base is turned, and the ears are stamped in a mould. This is a combination I really enjoy because it mixes the classical craft of throwing clay with an almost industrial aesthetic of moulded or pressed plastic.

 

For the moulds I use standard casting plaster and for the glaze I prefer to use lead-free options. All the clay I use comes from the region around my studio in the South of France and the firing is done in an old 750L kiln my father bought second-hand 20 years ago – it’s still going strong! Just recently, I also bought a small 80L kiln to make my prototypes and my glaze tests. I use both of them at 1020°C for the earthenware and 980°C for the glaze.

Cleaning Glove Vase; courtesy of the artist

Lola Mayeras 'Car Shoot' - Photography; NAHMLOS Bram van Dijk

After I finished all the prototypes of my first collection, I realised how my previous experience in fashion taught me to create an overview of a collection and how to develop an idea into a fully finished piece. This skill allowed me to naturally transform my first attempts at ceramics into a cohesive group of objects. After I finished photographing my first collection, I realised that I had created a universe where each stand-alone piece could also work together in a series. This is a challenge that I really enjoyed in fashion, and it was amazing to feel that I could find the same excitement in working with ceramics.

 

Now my mission is to try and push the boundaries of this universe with my new collection. It would be a dream to eventually expand my work with pieces that extend the limits of clay. Wood, metal and glass are all material that I would love to be able to experiment with one day.

 

For more information visit lolamayeras.com