Less is more: The sublime simplicity in the work of 4 coloured clay artists

These three artists succeed in creating works in which despite their technical complexity, seem “effortless”. By perfect mastery of their medium, they can keep only the essential. A calm serenity emerges from their pieces which I would describe with words like ethereal, velvety, subtle, with a measured dose of intensity, which acts as punctuation in the reading to create a dynamic, stimulating rhythm. In the case of Ratbag Studios it is the use of acid colors through the earth colors of her laminates, for Thomas Hoadley it is the gold sections which seem to stand out from the form by the extreme contrast with the deep, rich colors of the patterns. And for Flowers in the Vase, it is in the dramatic staging of her works: like in installation or performative art, the environment have a center place in the artwork. Her photos give clues to the creative process to help us complete the reading of the work as in her serie on the sky and that one on the monsoon.


ratbag studios 

Larissa Warren is a ceramic artist from the Gold Coast region near Brisbane in Australia. She merge molding and hand building to create her very special pieces, recognizable among all. She first makes blocks of nerikomi by laminating several layers of colored clay and other mineral materials, and she cuts slices which she apply inside the mold. To me, her pieces evoke extraterrestrial or underground landscapes, and it is particularly in its materiality that her work seduces me: take a close look at her pieces to appreciate the complexity of the textures and finishes… the perfectly smooth and velvety texture of the porcelain which contrasts with the raw qualities of the sandstone and the metallic perlites which erupt from the surfaces for a remarquable touch experience.

Did you know that before I started making functional ceramics, my first love was molding? When I see Larissa’s work it really makes me want to do it again! I invite you to follow her on Instagram to admire the range of her work, and in addition you will learn several tips. She shares a lot about her processes, her pedagogue qualities testifies her past as a visual arts teacher. She also wrote this article for Ceramic Arts Network which explains step by step details of her process. (You will see that it has a very different way to color clay than mine!)

Oeuvres de Larissa Warren, images tirées du site web de l’artiste, tout droits réservés Ratbag Studios.

Work from Larissa Warren, images borrowed from her website. Copyrights Ratbag Studios.

thomas hoadley

Thomas Hoadley lives in Lanesborough, Massachusets. He graduated from Amherst College in 1971 with a BA in studio arts. Thomas is an incredible technician ... joining two sections of nerikomi in this way is extremely difficult, so imagine ten, or more, on each piece ... So many chances to have cracks and breakages. His visual language is made up line work of a thousand ways which creates vibration effects in his pieces. His use of color is also very characteristic; to his very rich palette of marroon reds and blues, he adds black, white and shades of gray as well as gold leaf to create trompe l'oeil depth effects. He also says that he is inspired by textile design and his quilt-like compositions bear witness to this. His work is represented in many museums around the world including the “Museum of Fine Arts”, Boston, Massachusetts, and the “Museum of Modern Ceramic Art”, Tajimi City, Japan. You will not find Thomas Hoadley on social networks but his work has been represented in many ceramic books including this one and that one.

Oeuvres de Thomas Hoadley, images tirées du site web de l’artiste, tout droits réservés Thomas Hoadley.

Work from Thomas Hoadley, images borrowed from her website. Copyrights Thomas Hoadley.

flowers in the vase

Papitcha Thanasomboon is a young ceramic artist from Bangkok, Thailand and has been working in ceramics for only a few years. (Just like me, by the way) She was trained at the Faculty of Decorative Arts at Silpakorn University in Bangkok. She keeps the shapes of her pieces very simple to let color and patterns do all the talking. She mainly uses the gradient technique to create her pieces that evoke sunsets, ocean waves and the stratification of rock walls. The pieces presented below are from her “Monsoon Memories” collection, where she explores the special light of the season when the sun sets earlier. Observing sky and light is a big part of her process; she also made a series of 30 bowls for the “Chiang Mai Design Week 2018” which each represented the colors of the sky between mid-October and mid-November. You should see how she photographed her works for this series, spoiler alert: each bowl was on a pedestal mirror that reflected the sky as well as the outside face of the bowl, it was pure beauty.


Work from Papitcha Thanasomboon , images borrowed from her website. Copyrights Flowers in the Vase.

I hope you have made discoveries and that inspires you! I wish you a sweet and restful Sunday!



Marina xx