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the HANDS

the PIECES

the METHOD
 

the MAN

 

WHEN ALL HUMANS BEGIN LIFE IN THE WOMB, WE ARE NO MORE THAN A BULKY, SHAPELESS MASS. JUST LIKE THAT, ALL CERAMICS BEGIN LIFE AS KNOBBLY, CLAGGY SACKS. LUMPS OF CLAY. SOILED, SLIPPERY, DEEPLY SCENTED WITH MINERALS – SWEET, WARM MUD TAKEN FROM THE EARTH BELOW OUR FEET. THE CLAY GETS MOULDED, KNEADED, PINCHED AND COILED, CARESSED. FIRED IN A BLAZING KILN. IT’S ONLY THEN THAT THE CLAY POT CAN MAKE ITS WAY TO ITS FINAL OWNER. THIS IS HOW WE DO IT, THIS IS HOW IT’S BEEN DONE FOR CENTURIES.

GRÔPK – MEANING NO MORE THAN A POT IN KASHUBIAN, A VERNACULAR LANGUAGE OF POLAND’S EASTERN POMERANIA – WAS CREATED BECAUSE OF THE ENTICEMENT AND EXCITEMENT BY THE HUMAN HAND THAT MAKES CERAMICS – A BRAND OF ARTISANAL VESSELS AND A GENTLE TRIBUTE TO THE PIECES THAT DISPLAY THEIR MAKER’S MARK. THE WOBBLY QUALITY OF A PLUMP, WONKY VASE IN CHALK-WHITE, HUMBLY DISPLAYED ON A SPINDLY SIDE TABLE. THE SWOOSH OF GLAZE – AS IF DONE HURRIEDLY – THAT STILL LOOKS FRESHLY DAUBED FROM THE BRISTLES OF THE BRUSH. THE TACTILE TEXTURE OF THE KNOBBLY SURFACE ON A COCOON-SHAPED POT, ALL SHROUDED IN BLACK EXCEPT FOR WHERE ITS INSIDE GLAZE SPLATTERED OVER. PIECES EMBEDDED WITH THEIR HISTORY. GRÔPK IS A CELEBRATION – ALBEIT A QUIET ONE – OF RAW, UNAFFECTED BEAUTY OF CERAMIC VESSELS MADE BY HAND.

A PIECE OF HANDIWORK. UNEVEN, UNASSUMING, HUMBLE. CERAMICS WITH A PERSONALITY. IMPERFECT AND IMBUED WITH A TINGE OF BONHOMIE, EACH GRÔPK AMORPHOUS VESSEL, VASE OR DECORATIVE OBJECT CAPTURES A SENSE OF A STANDSTILL – AN OFFERING FROM A LOST WORLD. IN HARMONY WITH THE PRIMORDIAL TECHNIQUE THEY ARE MADE WITH, THE PIECES EVOKE ALL THAT IS ORGANIC RATHER THAN MAN-MADE AND TELL STORIES OF NEOLITHIC CULTURES, ORGANIC MATTER AND TIMES LONG BEFORE CIVILISATION. VAGUE, BIOMORPHIC FORMS OF INSECT NESTS, BEEHIVES AND ANTHILLS NOD TOWARDS THE EARTHLY, WHEREAS SURREALLY MELTED SILHOUETTES OF CORALS, SEASHELLS AND FOSSILS ALLUDE TO THE EARLIEST OF LIFE IN THE SEA.

GRÔPK CERAMICS ARE MINIMAL BUT HAVE NEITHER CALCULATED SEVERITY NOR DESIGNER CONSTRAINT, ONLY THE GENTLE PLEASURE AND CLARITY THAT COMES FROM PLAINNESS. MEDIATING ASCETIC MINIMALISM WITH SENSUALITY AND SOFTNESS, THE PIECES ARE MADE TO FEEL INTUITIVE – BE HELD IN HAND, TOUCHED, SLOWLY DISCOVERED.

TIMELESS IN THEIR DESIGN, GRÔPK CERAMICS ARE MADE FROM EARTH, SUN AND FIRE AND HAND-CRAFTED WITH UTMOST RESPECT TO THESE ELEMENTS. SHROUDED IN SUBTLE HUES OF NEUTRAL, EARTHY AND MUTED SHADES OF RED, OCHRE, BLACK, WHITE OR IVORY, THE CERAMICS ARE DESIGNED TO COMPLIMENT THE COLOUR PALETTE OF THEIR RAW NATURAL CLAYS. SOBERLY GLAZED, THE PIECES ARE STRIPPED OF UNNECESSARY EMBELLISHMENTS, QUIETLY INVITING TO APPRECIATE THE BEAUTY OF THEIR RAW, UNAFFECTED DESIGN.

INTUITIVE, TACTILE, UNDERSTATED. ALL BUT ANIMATE – GRÔPK SCULPTURAL VESSELS, VASES AND DECORATIVE OBJECTS APPEAR TO HAVE GROWN ORGANICALLY BY THEMSELVES, OR AT THE VERY LEAST TO HAVE BEEN BUILT HAPHAZARDLY WITHOUT MUCH CONSIDERATION. THEY ARE NOT. EACH OBJECT IS HAND-BUILT FROM PINCHED AND COILED CLAY – AN INHERENTLY SLOW TECHNIQUE THAT WE EMBRACE AS A MEDITATIVE PRACTICE. COIL BY COIL, ONE THIN, TINY LOOP OF CLAY BY ANOTHER, EACH STACKED ON TOP OF THE LAST, ALL OUR CERAMICS ARE CONCEIVED OVER A COURSE OF DOZENS OF HOURS WITH THIS LONG, METICULOUS METHOD. NODDING TOWARDS WABI-SABI PHILOSOPHY, OUR PIECES ARE A CELEBRATION OF THE SUBTLE NUANCES AND INCONSISTENCIES INHERENT TO THEIR CONSTRUCTION PROCESS THAT MAKE EACH ITEM UNIQUE. FROM THE PREHISTORIC LEMKOS TO ANCIENT GREEKS, PEOPLE FROM A SLEW OF LATITUDES AND CULTURES EMBRACED COILING AS THEIR POTTERY TECHNIQUE OF CHOICE. BEFORE WE EVEN BEGAN TO THINK OF HAND THROWING OUR CERAMICS, WE WOULD MAKE OUR VESSELS BY CAUTIOUSLY PINCHING AND COILING CLAY. BIT BY BIT, SLOWLY GOING UP. THIS IS HOW WE’VE DONE IT FOR CENTURIES. THE SIMPLE FORMS OF GRÔPK CERAMICS ESCHEW MODERN TECHNOLOGY AND USE ONLY THE MOST PRIMITIVE OF TOOLS – INCLUDING THE MAKER’S HANDS. SLOWLY, DELIBERATELY, PAINSTAKINGLY, A LUMP OF EARTH GETS RESHAPED INTO A HUMBLE PIECE OF HANDIWORK, HAPPILY CARRYING ITS MAKER’S MARK AS TESTAMENT TO ITS AGE-OLD CRAFT. TO BRING THE EARTH INTO THE HOME.

MARCIN KUBERNA’S GRÔPK EXPLORES A CONVERGENCE OF SCULPTURAL MINIMALISM AND PRIMORDIAL ARTISANSHIP THROUGH HANDCRAFTED CERAMICS. SPLITTING HIS TIME BETWEEN HIS WARSAW HOME AND SICILIAN PIED-À-TERRE, THE SELF-TAUGHT POTTER USES ANCIENT COILING TECHNIQUES TO DELIVER VASES, VESSELS AND DECORATIVE OBJECTS WITH A FOCUS ON SIMPLE FORMS THAT ESCHEW MODERN TECHNOLOGY, USING ONLY PRIMITIVE TOOLS AND THE MAKER’S HANDS. FOLLOWING A CAREER AS A FASHION STYLIST – INCLUDING A STINT AT VOGUE – THE KASHUBIA-BORN ARTIST CELEBRATES THE SLOW, METICULOUS PROCESS AND SUBTLE INCONSISTENCIES INHERENT TO HIS CHOSEN TECHNIQUE THAT MAKE EACH PIECE UNIQUE. MADE FROM STONEWARE CLAY, EACH VESSEL IS SOBERLY GLAZED IN A BROAD ARRAY OF NEUTRAL, EARTHY AND MUTED SHADES OF RED, OCHRE, BLACK, WHITE OR IVORY TO EMPHASIZE THE MATERIALS’ NATURAL TEXTURAL CHARACTER. KUBERNA’S BACKGROUND IN FASHION INFLUENCES BOTH THE FORM AND FUNCTION OF HIS VASES – VAGUE, ORGANIC FORMS INSPIRED BY NATURE INTRODUCE PLAYFUL OPTIONS FOR FLOWER ARRANGEMENT, WHILE EARTHY PALETTES, TACTILE TEXTURES, AND NEOLITHIC-INSPIRED CURVATURES EMBODY THE ARTIST’S INTEREST IN THE NATURAL WORLD AND THE HISTORY OF HIS CRAFT. CONCEPTUALLY DRIVEN AND MINDFULLY CREATED, MARCIN KUBERNA’S GRÔPK BIOMORPHIC VESSELS BRING THE EARTH INTO THE HOME.

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