Los Angeles ceramicist Andrew Wilder explores his Hudson River Valley roots in his first collection exclusively for CuratedKravet.com
Finding the right decorative accessory to take your design scheme to the next level isn’t an easy task. That’s why the style curators at Kravet Inc. scour the globe searching for one of a kind accessories you can’t find anywhere else. As part of our series, Crafted & Curated, we take a closer look behind the artists who create the incredible pieces sold on CuratedKravet.com.
- Let’s start at the basics for folks who may be new to this whole process. What is your pottery made from and where do you source your materials?
This collection that I have created for Kravet is earthenware, meaning it is low fired. The clay is refined terra cotta, which I wheel throw. It’s from Aardvark here in Southern California. This is what the ancient Greeks and Romans used to create wine amphora and decorative vases. As for the glazes, these I create in my studio here in Los Angeles. These evolve with each collection as I tweak and push the glazes further with each kiln firing.
- Can you walk us through this incredible creation process?
It all begins at the wheel, where I tend to throw intuitively, allowing a form to evolve, rather than sitting down with a hard idea of where I want to go. The shape is key, and this evolves in the throwing process. It refines further in the trimming process, which happens when the piece is half dried. Once it is dried, I create the pattern on the raw piece through intricate designs created in masking tape and apply the decorative lichen glaze into it. Then the first kiln firing happens at 1800 degrees. Next, now that I have the decorative glaze fired on onto the bisque fired vessel, I repeat the masking and apply hot paraffin over the decorative glaze. This is delicate work. Once this dries, the primary glazes are applied. Most of these vessels have two or three glaze overlays. Then the piece is fired a second time to 1900 degrees. And with some luck, these delicate items survive the whole process and I get to bring it to market!
- What makes this process unique?
Working in earthenware clay in itself is unique; probably one in 20 ceramicists do so. This is because the clay is extremely fickle and hard to throw. However, keeping to the lower temperatures like I am doing, allows me to achieve great colors and the sharpness in the decoration. And I am off the map now with my studio glazes. They are unique creations which have developed over time. They are the product of all my errors and successes.
- What got you started in pottery?
In 2015 I decided that I was ready to begin the third chapter of my life. And I knew that this chapter needed to be about being the creator, as opposed to representing other creators. So I defied convention: at fifty years of age I went back to school for two years full time to study ceramic design.
First day of school was the first time I had ever sat at the potter’s wheel. It’s a long slog through the mud, learning to make ceramics. There is no way to become good at this without becoming good with heartbreak and failure because the road to competence is paved with so many messes and explosions. Quite literally. Once I became good with this, my work started to fly. And now this process is my greatest joy and my greatest teacher.
- You are known for your 20th century Scandinavian style. What else would you say heavily influences your aesthetic?
I have collected and dealt in Scandinavian mid-century pottery for more than twenty years now. So much of what I know about proportion, grace and balance in form comes from the Swedish and Danish creators of the twentieth century. Also, the fact that I grew up in New York and now have lived in LA for 20 years – this leaves me with combination of classic, decorative and austere, modern impressions. I like to meld these two divergent bodies of experience in my work to create something personal and unseen.
- What’s it like seeing your creations available on CuratedKravet.com?
I am thrilled to be seeing my work with such a venerable company and am twice thrilled to be in the company of so many excellent creators on CuratedKravet.com.
Explore all of Andrew Wilder’s incredible creations here!