Today ceramic super nice, we present the work of Isabell Gatzen, a designer who has started designing and working with ceramics and created the “Objectify”series, made by hand and it represents a metaphor that she explains… .
You made the “Objectify”Vase Series in Bali a few month after you started working with ceramics. How was your experience beginning in pottery?
When I approached throwing on a wheel for the first time I got instantly hooked. I love that clay reacts to every little movement. You need to be calm and precise in order to get what you want. On the other hand it allows to play, make mistakes and experiment. There are so many aspects of pottery that I appreciate ( for example the variety of techniques that give room to create unique objects ) and some I didn’t like as much ( that clay has a memory and might bend in the firing). But in general I had the most amazing experience one could have.
When I started the “Objectify” Vase Series I was exploring porcelain.
I used a mould to prototype each initial form. By adding and subtracting I applied unique characteristics to the same bases to achieve vases with a unique character.
At the time I thought a lot about the contradictions in our society for the need of conformity and individualism and our wish for the benefits of mass produced items which equally poses unique characteristics. The “Objectify” vase series is a metaphor for those contradictions and therefore the final series will be produced by hand.
Are you going to continue making objects by hand with ceramics?
Definitely! But I am a designer not a potter, so I prototype and leave the reproduction of a design to people with expert knowledge.
What means ceramics for you now?
Endless possibilities with a true and noble material. Technique, form, texture, color and the impact of time are all factors that that give opportunity to design and experiment. I can express what I believe is „beautiful“, look at it, feel and use it.
Do you think pottery will disappear because of 3d printers?
No, I don`t. Ceramic has been used since Roman times. Different techniques have been developed over thousands of years with the evolving technologies at the time. We are in the 21st-century and I see 3D printing ceramics as a contemporary technique to make unique objects. 3 D printing and its development is very innovative right now and still evolving. In my believe it opens a lot of new possibilities for the ceramic world. Things that would never have been imaginable with this material will be made.
All the artisan ceramic techniques are incredible and therefore I believe 3D printing ceramics will be a contribution and not a revolution.
What do you find the most challenging about your job?
To keep design simple, use what`s needed without adding too much or too less. Focus on what is important and the right use of time.
You have worked in several companies, how did you decide to create your own office?
I was working in San Francisco at the time designing electronics. It was a very intense dispute with design and its process. A good user experience and the right use of technology are the key to deliver a innovative product. The downside for me was that electronics have a short lifecycle; they are made out of plastic and become quickly out-dated when technologies change. It made me realize that I desire to create items that can live from one generation to the next without losing their value and become someones legacy. Clean lines, true materials and high quality craftsmanship are very important to me.
Was it hard to take the decision?
No, it felt like the right time in my career for self-actualization, to do what I believe in.
What did you learn from those companies that now you apply on your own studio?
To have a structured design process, different techniques to visualize a concept, how to make a kick-ass presentation, how the industry works and how to push yourself in the pursuit of mastery and much more…I am glad I did work intensively for this industry. It was a great experience, I learned a lot and it makes me appreciate even more what I do now.
Did you ever train or work as an apprentice?
I did 2 internships in product design studios while going to art school.
For you, what is your dream for your career?
I am currently working on my own tableware line. An ambition of mine is to design the interiors for a new hotel and to have the opportunity to guest design for well established homeware brands.
What was your dream job as a child?
I wanted to be an inventor.
Do you work alone?
Yes, and I like it. But I also appreciate to work in a team and being questioned by someone else.
Which would be your ideal project?
A project where I can fully express my creativity and that makes people happy.
Tell us, how a normal day in your work is?
Except that I have a coffee every morning, there is no such thing as a „normal day“. Depending on the phase of a project I do the conception, drawing, design, visualization, 3D, prototype, source and organize production, webpage, marketing and so on. My work is very versatile, often challenging but fortunately never boring.
How did you start to become known for your work?
When I started to get published in magazines and on several blogs. But I am still working on it (; so spread the word…www.isabellgatzen.com
What is the most difficult thing in your work? And the one you like most?
Production is the most difficult thing, its hard to find the right production facilities to produce sustainable, labor friendly and for a reasonable price.
The ideation and design phase is my favorite, the one where I can be most creative.
An advice for someone who is thinking about creating his own studio….
Be brave, take risks, because nothing can substitute experience. Pursue your ideals, believe in yourself and do it. If you don’t build your dreams, someone will hire you to help build theirs.