Old and traditional ceramic mediums are increasingly popular amongst the younger generation of contemporary artists but also with galleries and collectors. Alicja Patanowska from Poland, one of the rising stars of contemporary ceramics and glass, has recently graduated from the renowned Royal College of Arts where she was awarded the RJ Washington Scholarship and received her masters diploma.
We caught up with Alicja after the final exhibition, where many collectors, art lovers and art critics were enticed by her work. Here she tells us a little bit about her pieces and plans for the future.
1. You’ve achieved a large selection of awards and scholarship throughout your career. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
My first scholarship was The Griffin Scholarship and I received it in advance before I started my studies, based on my previous artistic achievements. It was a wonderful support that lasted two years, and it influenced my decision to take studies at RCA. At that time I was granted the Art Scholarship of the Mayor of Wroclaw, the city where I lived and studied in Poland for more than 10 years. After the first year at RCA, I became a finalist of Innovation RCA, entrepreneur's Launchpad 2013. It is a very valuable and intensive course run by business people. It was an important experience and a beginning of a valuable network! During the Work in Progress Show I won The Charlotte Frazer Award 2014 for the first version of PLANTATION, whose final effect was part of my diploma project. At the Degree Show I was awarded RJ Washington Bursary for the best design out of the Ceramics and Glass Faculty during the Show, and I became a finalist of Sustain RCA Award. The results will be announced at the London Design Festival in September. I also got to the finals of the competition Make Me! with the results to be announced at the Lodz Design Festival. I think that’s all...
2. During the final year show people from the industry have the chance to see your work, sometimes for the first time. Tell us about the interest you’ve received.
It is really great when after two years of total focus on work it pays back and people show such an interest in final projects. It’s really inspiring. I have plenty of work instead of holidays and it makes me very happy. What is especially important for me is that not only did modern art galleries show interest in my work but also many design galleries were interested. Diffusion of these two worlds, which have always drawn from each other, is very important in what I am doing.
3. What are your plans for the next steps of your career?
I can only make plans for the next few months. Further suggestions and challenges that showed up during the Show will inform my next steps. I am staying in London where, together with a group of great people from RCA, we are launching a studio. In August I will travel to Gdansk and work at the glass foundry, before returning to the studio in September for the London Design Festival. Besides London, there will be Lodz, my beloved Wroclaw, Milan, Frankfurt and Paris. Certainly I'll be on the way!
4. One of your pieces now belongs to the collection of PURO Poznan. Did you ever consider that a design hotel would be one of the places where your work would be placed for the public to see?
You said 'public'. Hotel means constant encounters with people. “Recipient” or “user”- for me these are the key words and are a very important part of every project I make. A dialogue, a movement, meetings - these are my orbits. Nowadays a hotel is not just a left-luggage office and a bedroom. It is a network, a lifestyle, an important space. I love to be a part of the space where something is happening all the time!
5. Can you tell us a few things about the techniques and materials you used for this specific piece?
I consider craft skills to be crucial to my artistic practice. I design and learn through the making process, working with various materials.
STRATUM Collection is a project where I combine different media in a dialogue between two of the craft skills - glass blowing and throwing on the wheel. Symmetric on the exterior lifts up the organic and irregular interior. White porcelain and transparent glass sit together creating a resulting balance from the contrast.