Karolina Zimnicka: Experiences expressed in composition

Architerior talked to ceramic artist Karolina Zimnicka, working under the name Nomad Ceramics. Karolina shared her thoughts on the relationship between the material and the artist, and how she sees an emotional relation to the forms that take shape in her studio in Gdańsk, Poland. Her works tend to go towards shapes that are familiar and natural, and she frequently takes a step back to rethink and minimalize. Being aware of the continuity of this work provides a direct way to connect with the rich heritage of the art from the earliest moments of human kind. Enjoy!

Can you tell us about your journey of becoming an artist?

Ever heard the expression “you are what you eat”? I believe that it is the same with education. Education and culture have a terrible impact on who we are. As a child in elementary school, I knew all art text books by heart. It was not surprising that I went to art school. I graduated from the state art school, then I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk.

My whole professional experience of more than ten years is connected to product design. I have begun my career in a well-established clothing company as a female fashion designer. In the the next years the categories of products had been changing and with that one time I was introducing a series of toys to the market just to be designing furniture another time. Over the last 10 years I have been working as a freelancer designing utility products and leading my own brand. In 2020 I obtained the qualifications of a ceramist teacher and started a workshop named Nomad Ceramics. In April I am going to present my works for the first time as a part of an exhibition. The 2022 edition of 1000 VASES Paris will be held during the Art Paris Fair.

When starting on a new artwork, what goes through your head? How does your planning and creation process look like?

Subconsciously I end up forming shapes that are familiar and natural, that feel nice, that are rounded, asymmetrical, feminine. The nature of the works is a reflection of my emotions and mental state during the creative process. I usually use the traditional slab technique when doing a project. It often happens that during my work, when emotions take over I change it to a more dynamic one and the next day I simplify it again and stabilize the form. For me the creative process with clay means working with a “living” matter that is sometimes unbearable, sometimes moody, and yet sometimes yielding and reliable. The final form is directly connected to the emotions that appear in the relationship between me and the material I am working with. The created shape is a reflection (and transcription) of those emotions and experiences expressed in lines, divisions and composition.

Explore Nomad Ceramics online

What are you working on right now?

I am working on a series of sculptures. For an industrial designer, this is a change in the way they think about a product. I want to focus on non-functional art.

How has Covid-19 affected you as an artist?

The pandemic has changed everything and I decided to be independent. I bought a pottery wheel, a pottery stove and opened a ceramic studio.

Nomad Ceramics on Instagram

Karolina Zimnicka of Nomad Ceramics

Where do you find inspiration?

Nature and the synthesis of women’s bodies, as for example in the shapes of the prehistoric Venus figures (both from Lespugue and Willendorf). They inspire me and at the same time force me to contemplate our existence and the connection with the history dating back 30 thousands years. For thousands of years people have been creating objects from clay with their hands and I think that this relationship to antiquity is fascinating. Being aware of the continuity of this work provides a direct way to connect with the rich heritage of the art from the earliest moments of human kind.

Karolina Zimnicka in her ceramic studio. Photo: @iwonaweissphotography
Karolina Zimnicka in her studio. Photo: @iwonaweissphotography

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What are the best things about being an artist?

Working with such an authentic material as clay wakes up in me a tangible joy of directly connecting with nature, and the experience of traditional craftsmanship constitutes a return to the roots and that gives me a glimpse of slow living. It provides me with the peace and harmony I have always dreamed of. What I love about working with clay is independence. Both as a matter of the specifics of the work itself as well as the fact that I have control over the whole creative process from the very beginning until the end. I am responsible for everything – from the project stage until the final result.

Karolina Zimnicka:

  • Born in 1982 in Gdynia, Poland).
  • Industrial designer, visual artist, modern cultural animator, teacher and ceramist.
  • 2003-2006‬ The Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk (Bachelor of Arts) diploma in painting. ‪
  • 2007-2009‬ The Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk, Master of Arts, diploma in painting. Title: Master of Arts.
  • 2008-2009‬ Multimedia College (videoart specialization).
  • nomadceramics.com/en
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