We’re always excited to find out about fellow creative people in our local area, and given our penchant for ceramics we were especially intrigued when we discovered Kana London. The brainchild of Sculpture major Ana Kerin, Kana is a project centred around beautiful, handmade objects for the home, particularly the kitchen. We caught up with Ana to find out a little more about Kana, her processes and the lessons she’s learned since setting up her venture.
How did Kana London come about? It all stems from a large bowl that I made as part of a gallery installation; the bowl had exposed rough clay on the outside with very tactile glazed fingerprint traces on the inside. After the show, that became the centerpiece on my mum’s kitchen table. A fruit bowl. Just that. On reflection, that piece is what my work is all about. A lot of my early ceramic works were on the border between sculpture and functional objects. I was constantly exploring this thin line, pushing it as far as I could.
How would you describe your work? My work is very tactile. There is a presence of a human touch on all of the objects, via my fingerprints. Although my work could be described as primitive, I also think it has an elegance. I have discovered my own language within ceramics; I want the work to look like it was buried in sand or dug out from red soil, like it came straight from volcanic rock or the rocks you find on the beach.
What do you like best about working with clay? Clay as a material is hundreds of thousands of years old. It is incredible that in a time of high technology, we still surround ourselves with objects that are so primitive. I love that. I also find working with clay to be really calming. Clay lets you try again and again. It is meditative, and teaches me how to have patience, to slow down, to breathe.
We like the natural, earth colors and glazes you use on your pieces. Do you prefer this type of finish to bright colors? The raw exposed clay on outside of my work is for a tactile experience; bringing a natural feel into modern shaped homes and spaces is what I want my work to do most of all.
How does your love for and interest in food feed into your ceramics? It’s all about food! I wanted to make functional sculptures that would hold food - like finding a way into the kitchen without being a chef. My ceramics are made with the intension of adding to a dining experience. That is how it really all started.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt since setting up Kana London? Persistence - and patience! And that you cannot do everything by yourself. It has taught me to ask for help. I was terrible for wanting to do everything by myself - the letting go lesson is a difficult one for me!
Is sustainability something that you think about with your work? Yes – I hope so. I believe my work contributes to a sustainable living ethos. I believe the work brings back a human touch that has been taken away with industrialization. You can feel my work has been touched by hands in the process of making. In a disposable society, I hope to make work with soul, objects that are made to bekept and loved instead of replaced. I love the concept of making something that may create or carry stories, and hopefully become part of them.
What do you do to unwind? Morning Yoga, or going for lunch, or an evening swim. I love long walks; I avoid public transport so I can walk – it gives me time to think (I cycle when I am rushing). I love live gigs and contemporary dance performances. Staying in and cooking and having dinner with friends. Lazy Sundays in bed. Reading my favorite magazines.
All images courtesy of Ola O Smit Photography for Kana London