Interview with Esteemed Ceramicist, Mariana Alzamora
We are thrilled to say that Mariana has hand-crafted two more beautiful moons for Maud and Mabel. Mariana Alzamora, a ceramicist and painter living on the island of Mallorca, takes ancient and mythological tales as source material for her art.
Mariana finds herself constantly returning to the simplicity of clay to create her round forms of wholeness and completion. The relationship between her works and ancient history is reiterated in the use of clay that has been ground by pre-historic glaciers surrounding great granite rocks.
Can you tell us a bit about how your ceramic practice began?
I’ve worked with clay since my twenties in a utilitarian manner and since my forties in a more intellectual or spiritual manner, doing the human form to understand who we are, it was a conversation with our subconscious or the universal consciousness which took me to work in painting (and etchings on copper) in a symbolic way and the rounded shape appeared. I was the pivot point which later became the vessel, the vessel we carry, the vessel we are.
In 2016 the myth of Pandora revived. The jar appeared fully opened. I wanted to return to ground, to work with clay again, to do Pandora’s vessel, the original Pithos in the abstract shape of woman. I learned the original myth was Anesidora, meaning gifts rising from the Earth. As I was not working on a wheel and wasn’t experienced, they were lopsided. And I finally realized it was exactly what I wanted to express as they appeared to be pregnant with hope, so they became meditation pieces where the inner space became more important that the shape containing it. It also became a symbol of the moon the cyclical nature of time, of life, birth death rebirth. (I am happy to say I just discovered a new use, symbol of it. The beehive. The beehive that we need to learn from in order to survive!)
How do your surroundings inform your work?
I live inside a bowl the tall trees and mountain of the valley are my horizon.
What is the most enjoyable part of your process?
Every part is enjoyable as every stage teaches me: the handling of the pliable earth, its different stages of water content, the awareness of the thread of time, the necessary wait for the clay to harden in order to accept the weight of the next layer, the shaping of it, how its curvature is defined by itself, how to create the opening, how to balance it! Where to place the foot - every action demands full awareness! It shapes me more than I it!
What about your work and you (such as your life and experiences) are unique in contemporary ceramics?
Contemporary ceramics? I guess that it’s about the first art man ever developed. I think we are the earth, matter, minerals, evolving into consciousness.
How do you approach achieving the perfect balance in your work?
By being centred, or at least trying to be!
Who and what are your biggest influences?
What are the most exciting and daunting elements as the finished piece is revealed after firing?
Well, there is no turning back! No chance to reshape into something else. It’s gone through the fire. Experience fire has done its miracle!
In what ways do you continue to move your practice forward and experiment?
There are unconscious forces surfacing from within and forces from without acting on it.