Paula Atelier: Working with clay is like meditation

Architerior talked to Paula Martinsson of Paula Atelier. This rising star in the world of art ceramics shared some thoughts on her work and why clay is such a great material.

Where are you from?

I’m from a small town named Falkenberg on the west coast of Sweden. It’s by the ocean and the summers are lovely. Now I live in Gothenburg.

Have you always been working with art?

For as long as I can remember I’ve always had an interest in esthetics. Both of my parents are creative even if they wouldn’t say so. I painted a lot as a kid and it naturally evolved in to ceramics over time.

Have you studied or are you self taught?

I’m currently studying Ceramic art at HDK-Valand. Before that I studied a year at a preparatory school learning the basics of ceramics.

Describe your art style: materials, forms, colours. Do you have preferences?

I make organic shapes in clay. Most of the time I am using the natural color of the clay. I often leave it without glaze. I like to make smooth surfaces but still keep the feeling of it being hand made. Sometimes I make patterns with lines or dots and if I’m in the mood for it I use bright colors.

When starting on a new artwork, what goes through your head?

Working with clay is like meditation for me. I usually don’t think much before I start. I have a feeling of making something wavy/straight/tall/short, and then I just let the hands do the job. Sometimes it ends up bad and sometimes I like what I’ve created. I’m inspired by my surroundings such as nature or buildings. I see one specific thing that I like and then translate it into clay.

Can you tell us about how your art has changed or evolved during your art career?

I feel like my career has just started, but I evolve all the time and what I did 6 months ago feels like forever ago. In the beginning it was all about getting to know the material and searching for my own expression.

Can you mention an exhibition or moment in your art career that have been extra important to you?

I’m actually having my first solo exhibition on the 1st of april, which I’m very excited about. Also being represented by The Ode To has helped me reach out.

What are you working on right now?

The last pieces of my exhibition in April.

What does “good art” mean to you?

I wouldn’t categorize art as good or bad because it’s in the eye of the beholder. I like art that makes me feel good. But that might not be good art for someone else. I really like a good composition and when one can tell that it’s made by a human. 

What inspires you to create? Where do you get ideas and energy?

Sometimes I don’t have any energy at all and sometimes it’s like nothing can stop me. A lot of my inspiration comes from nature, but also from different places like 3D artists on Instagram.

If you could exhibit your art anywhere/with anyone, where/who would it be?

It would be nice to present my art in a room with huge windows. My favourite place in the world is Copenhagen so I would like my next exhibition to be there in a relaxed room with huge windows.

Do you have artistic role models and artists you admire?

The one who got me started with ceramics is Ingegerd Råman which is an incredibly cool designer that I adore. I saw a film about her named “Framtid i varje andetag” and inspired me to explore clay as an art form. I’m also a big fan of Anton Alvarez and his ceramics.

How does one stay unique in the art world, and is that important?

Just like everybody else I have my own way of expressing myself. I always do what feels right in the moment, and that’s what’s important to me.