Updated: Jun 17
From the very first day of Small english, I was collaborating with other artists to bring the items into the world. The most recent release PRETTY STRONG was created in collaboration with Kristina. She describes herself as an artist and a potter. She holds a degree in product design and runs her studio Atlantida Ceramics. Once we were done collaborating on making the PRETTY STRONG cups, we sat down to chat.
HOW DID YOU START WORKING WITH CLAY?
At the beginning it was a hobby. I thought that making a living by making plates would be unrealistic but I was dreaming of it. I really wanted to make plates. It was my dream to make beautiful plates. As soon as there was an opportunity to attend pottery classes, I applied. It was funny, the first classes I took… they were for children. I was in a class with kids who would be making clay monsters.
There are so many different nuances when working with clay. Only by actually working with clay you can start to understand them. A few years later, when I was studying at the university I took classes at the ceramics department as a part of my product design studies. However, there was so much theory covered. If I remember correctly, only in the second year we actually started working with clay. But they still did not let me make the plates (laughs). It was suggested that it was better for me to start by making sculptures. I really wanted to make plates, so I read about it, I started watching youtube videos about it and eventually I started making the plates.
I really did not think this could be something I do as work. I thought I would finish the courses and you know, it would be my hobby but later on I got commissions, people asked me to make things for them and then it evolved in what it is today - Atlantida Ceramics. For a while, I was only working at the studio but last year I also started working as a teacher at a school. It can get lonely to be just by yourself in the studio, so now I also have a job.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I teach students to work in different types of 3D software. Basically it is very similar to what I do in my studio just on computers. It all starts with a lump of clay (laughs).
I really like the balance between work as a teacher and my work at the studio. It also gives me the freedom to not think too much about the financial return of the Atlantida Ceramics. I have what I need to cover my living costs and this allows me to not think just about the profit of my company. I really like what I make and it is really nice to do it this way … without thinking if the thing which I am making is profitable or not. At the beginning, I really thought about what would sell better but being a part time teacher really gives me the freedom to not do it. The freedom of being able to not think if the particular object will be profitable or not is truly awesome.
WHAT MADE YOU TO CHOOSE ATLANTIDA CERAMICS FOR YOUR STUDIO NAME?
This name has been with me for a long time. I used to paint paintings of the sea, I used to dream about living on an island and I had a nickname, Kristina Atlantida. So later on when I started the studio, I just named it Atlantida Ceramics.
I REMEMBER US MEETING ON INSTAGRAM. DO NOT REMEMBER HOW THAT HAPPENED EXACTLY. DO YOU RECALL HOW WE FOUND EACH OTHER?
I think I started following you and then you DM’ed me.
FROM WHAT I REMEMBER IT WENT LIKE THIS... I HAD THIS IDEA THAT THE NEXT SMALL ENGLISH RELEASE SHOULD HAVE MUGS IN IT. I ALREADY HAD THE DRAWING AND I KIND OF KNEW WHAT IT WOULD NEED TO LOOK LIKE. I HAD REACHED OUT TO A FEW PEOPLE WHO I KNEW BUT I WAS NOT REALLY MET WITH AN ENTHUSIASM AND THEN SUDDENLY THERE WAS YOU ON INSTAGRAM AND WE "CLICKED" FROM THE FIRST MOMENT. BUT ALL THE DETAILS ARE KIND OF BLURRY TO ME BECAUSE WE REALLY STARTED WORKING TOGETHER QUITE QUICKLY. TO ME, IT WAS A LITTLE BIT OF A MIRACLE. I REMEMBER SCROLLING THROUGH YOUR INSTAGRAM AND LOVING YOUR PRODUCTS. AND WHEN WE STARTED TALKING, YOU WERE SO NICE AND OPEN TO WHAT I HAD IN MIND. IT IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE WHEN I REACH OUT TO PEOPLE WITH COLLAB REQUESTS.
Thank you, that is so nice of you to say.
WHEN DID YOU START YOUR INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT?
I started it back in 2016. At that time, I already I was making a lot of different things. I remember having a shelf full of ceramics I had made, I would gift them to friends and family. When I had to get the second shelf for all of my makings, I started my Instagram account. I really like Instagram, it gives me a chance to present my work and to connect with customers. I create the feed in a harmonious and really thought out way.
I LIKE YOUR ACCOUNT.
It is all about work, I would eventually want to have an online shop as well, but there’s still a lot of work which needs to be done for me to get there.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO MAKE?
Plates. I will forever be in love with making plates (laughs).
YES, THAT'S WHAT YOU SAID AT THE BEGINNING AND THAT THEY DID NOT LET YOU MAKE THE PLATES AT THE UNIVERSITY :D
At the art school, it was really all about art, very conceptual. I was a little bit more down to earth, I wanted to think about the future, I would not only want to make art, I would want to walk a different path and get to know my craft. I feel like every time I am making something, I am improving myself. Like when you approached me, I had not made that kind of cups yet. It was very interesting to me, it was interesting to me to bring this project to life, we had so many problems in the process, but it was a great process. I feel that I am growing through these problems. When I make art pieces, it is a very different experience.
I AM REALLY WITH YOU ON THIS ONE. I AM REALLY HAPPY WE MET AND GOT TO WORK TOGETHER, TO ME, IT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT MY CUSTOMERS GET TO ENJOY MY DRAWINGS IN WHATEVER FORM THEY COME - POSTERS, SWEATERS, RINGS AND NOW ALSO MUGS.
To me, it is the best when someone asks me to make something. It is about collaboration, about sharing the vision. It is so much nicer to collaborate than just work by myself.
I REALLY ENJOYED WORKING WITH YOU. YOU ARE VERY EMPATHETIC AND YOU DO OFFER SOLUTIONS, AS YOU SAID, IN THE PROCESS WE HAD SO MANY PROBLEMS. WHEN THOSE MUGS FINALLY ARRIVED, I WAS REALLY EXCITED. AND YOU BROUGHT THEM INTO THIS WORLD ALMOST EXACTLY HOW I HAD IMAGINED THEM IN MY MIND. A LOT OF TIMES, IT IS ABOUT HOW TO FIND COMMON GROUND WITH YOUR COLLABORATOR. AND WE SOMEHOW FOUND THAT COMMON GROUND FROM THE VERY FIRST DAY ... IT WAS COMPLETELY UNIMPORTANT THAT SOMETHING HAD NOT WORKED OUT AS PLANNED, BOTH OF US WERE JUST FOCUSED ON FINDING A SOLUTION.
But you are also very understanding. There’s lots of people who have imagined something and if it does not come out exactly like it then it has not worked out. Very often, it is not technically possible or people do not go in depth to explain their idea and then I am really stressed and start to spiral down in my head that I should not take commissions anymore ever. I remember you saying at one point that after everything we had tried, it is fine, the cups will come out the way they should and then I was really calm. Truth to be told, there are clients who say that they would not take the work, if they do not like the outcome and then I get really stressed and the outcome is really not good at the end. When there is an understanding, there is a good result.
I REALLY WANTED TO WRITE A POST ABOUT YOU AND HOW WONDERFUL A COLLABORATION WITH YOU CAN BE. I VERY OFTEN SHOW THE PROCESS OF MAKING SMALL ENGLISH ITEMS, FOR EXAMPLE, AT THE TIMES WHEN I AM AT THE STUDIO PRINTING SWEATERS & POSTERS. THIS TIME I HAD NOT PUT MY HANDS ON THE OBJECTS IN THE PROCESS OF MAKING THEM, IT WAS PURELY THE CONCEPT I HAD CREATED, BUT I WANTED TO SHARE WITH THE SMALL ENGLISH FOLLOWERS WHERE THESE BEAUTIES CAME FROM. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR CREATING THEM AND THANK YOU FOR CHATTING WITH ME :)
You are welcome and talk to you soon!
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