Ceramicist : How Ayu Larasati turned her passion for pottery into a living
living | 2018-07-27 23:32:59
1. Tell us a bit of yourself + your business.
I first rented a pottery studio and we started making tablewares, functional objects, plates, mugs, and cups. Aside of that, we do commisioned work such as artpieces for retail spaces in Jakarta. I would say that my work is a bit of both functional and art in ceramics.
2. What are your main sources of inspirations to be a ceramicist?
The main inspiration comes from the process itself. The process of making ceramics has taught me a lot of things, for instance, it allows me to work with natural materials. When you work with ceramics, you are working with a piece of Earth. There’s bound to be elements that will lead to unpredictabilities and inconsistencies, and at times what we want and what we expect may clash due to these reasons. The point is that you are unable to always be in control when with working with natural materials and that making ceramics is a give and take process as you should allow the process to lead the way at times.
3. What was your first ceramics creation you were proud of until this day?
The ceramics creation that I am most proud of until this day evolves over time. However, I would say that the most distinctive items from my creation are my cups and mugs. The cups and mugs have their own distinct character that everyone can immediately identify and know that they are made from our studio. They each have a certain characteristic from their shapes, the shape of the handles, their tapered textures or through their glazes. Over time, I constantly change my approaches on making my ceramics due to the materials and the techniques I learnt. But I ensure that when people identify the cups and mugs, they would find them both as art pieces and my personal style in them.
4.What kind of design process when creating a new piece for your ceramics?
Our design process builds up from our experiences with our clients’ requests and the techniques we learnt over time. When client requests a specific shapes and sizes or products with a certain mood, we would first introduce them with our portfolios of the things we have made and to showcase the skills that we have attained. Supposed the client brings up a new or different styles or shapes, it would require us to find the different techniques in order to create them. And through the process, I would often find them intriguing and it would challenge me to create and experiment the products with new methods and adjustments based on the skills that I already have. Of course, it would definitely take up a lot of time and energy to create the adjustments, but over the time I often myself inspired by the process. For example, I would find the products requests to have a really exciting shape to work with and through creating the clients’ products I will be given the chance to experiment with a new set of skills for my ceramics.
5.Talk about growing and sustaining your business, what was the most astonishing factor you’ve found while working?
I believe that the ceramics industry in Jakarta is very thriving at the moment. There are a lot of independent makers coming up, where they are starting up their own studio and also, you can find new comers all the way in Bandung. Knowing that, I am truly astonished, and I do feel great about it. Running a business is never easy and very challenging, it is hard especially when you initially do it as a hobby and now as a business. What people do not understand is that we are selling our ceramics based on our passion and the time taken practicing our skills, therefore, each of our products come with a price.
6.How do you see the prospects of building up your ceramic business in Indonesia as supposed to being in Canada?
In terms of practicality as to working with ceramics, you have to ensure to keep your overheads low and I do think that it is definitely more do-able here in Indonesia as compared to in Canada. However, I do believe that everything and everywhere have their own sets of pluses and minuses. While living abroad, there are a lot of communities and very established and independent pottery scenes, there are also many established groups of suppliers and forums you can seek to ask questions and to provide you with suggestions. These groups had given me ideas of some of the next things I would like to make with my ceramics. Furthermore, you can also find studios or visit the different groups of experienced ceramicists for you to get inspirations, which you will find it rather hard to find in Indonesia.
7. What collaboration or projects have you been most excited about lately?
I have been really excited about my latest commissioned works and projects, where I have been commissioned to do other types of products besides the cups and mugs that I am regularly fond of. I would often get burned out when I had to create the same things over and over again. Our latest commissioned work, we have clients that have given us freedom to create with different styles of products, from the shapes, sizes, and designs. By doing these commissioned works, it gave me a different sense of directions to my approaches and it is truly exciting for me to do so.
8.How do you think we can encourage more local makers to pursue a career path in their passion like what you do?
Doing ceramics is very, very hard. It would take so much of your energy but it is also important that you keep a positive mind. You have to always be consistent and ensure that you keep doing a lot of work as while doing so, you can gain a lot of theories and techniques. It is also important for you to learn and get advises from other experienced ceramicists and to practice every day. Up to this day, I still throw daily and try to develop new things despite having a team in the studio to do so as it is so important for you to note lose touch from the clay. Remember to also be inspired with the process itself and just show up to the studio and make as many mistakes as you can in order to learn.