Artist statement

I am a ceramic artist who fuses elaborate surface decorations with forms in clay, some more sculptural than others. Surface, form, colour, texture, feel and decorative patternwork - all these come together in my work. My ceramics combine both visual and tactile qualities whether in sculptural pieces or domestic ware.

As a ‘Weltbürger’ (=citizen of the world) with my own diverse cultural and geographical roots I feel the current climate of rising nationalism in which multiculturalism is losing its positive connotations very disturbing. This concern informs my work, which explores cultural identity and cross-cultural crossover through the use of patterns and decorative traditions used by different peoples (both current and historically) across the world. My research goes beyond pottery to look at patterns used in within other applied arts such as architecture and textiles. I am also interested in the link between visual patterns and writing. Patterns often contain within them elements of symbolism which is not far from the visual language used in writing systems based on pictograms. 

Form and shape are more intuitively understood, especially if they are three-dimensional and non-representative. They seem to appeal to a different level of aesthetic comprehension than patterns. I combine and juxtapose the controlled pattern-work from different cultures with non-representational figures. I don’t want the forms to have a fixed meaning but to be understood on a more intuitive level. The visual sweep and flow of lines is just as important as the tactile qualities of the form. Their biomorphic and sensual qualities contrast with the rational and controlled pattern-work they are decorated with. 

I also research and reference different pottery traditions, in particular historical decorating and glazing techniques. This gives me an another opportunity to blur boundaries when, in addition to combining and mixing up surface pattern-work from different cultural backgrounds, these get fused with recognisable surface decorations and glazes to see how they complement each other. 

My work is in essence an attempt at questioning cultural identities within the context of multiculturalism and international craft culture. 

© 2019 by Micaela Schoop.| All rights reserved.