Meet the Maker – Victoria Wägner (Made by VVV)
Without further ado, let’s hear more from Victoria…
How did you first get into ceramics?
I started an evening class a few years ago as a way to find some creative time away from a computer screen. Although I was already working in a creative job, leading urban design projects, I really craved making something with my hands.
It turned out to be a great way to switch off a racing mind and embrace a much more intuitive and immediate way of working. I found working with clay really rewarding, therapeutic and fun, and over the past year and a half it’s become something I do part-time in a shared studio.
Can you tell us how your first project went?
The first piece I ever planned and made was a fruit bowl. It’s irregular in shape, and decorated with a sweeping, cobalt blue brush stroke. At the time I made it I had no idea what I was doing, and from a technical point of view it’s terrible, but amazingly I still love it and use it regularly.
It may not be refined (or stable on a dinner table!), but there’s something about its essence that feels like me, and which I still see in my work now.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everywhere, and most often in places that have nothing to do with ceramics, like someone’s outfit or a poster on the tube!
Having said that, there are some artists in particular that I’m always inspired by. A lot of my pieces are interpretations of women and the female body, and I love artists such as Kelly Anna, Annie Hutchinson and Adelaide Damoah, whose work always has empowered women at their centre.
When it comes to the way I glaze, decorate and splatter my pieces, I find a lot of inspiration in abstract art and mark-making – I love the work of Robert Motherwell, Anna Maria Maiolino, Henri Michaux and Julie Mehretu.
What do you love most about the making process?
I love the freedom and excitement that comes from not knowing exactly what a piece will look like when I start. I always have a rough idea of what I want to make, but my process is quite free, fluid and intuitive, so it’s always full of surprises; some good, some less so.
There are so many variables in ceramics anyway, from the clay you use to the way you combine glazes, and there’s always an element of chance when you fire a piece in the kiln. It can be frustrating, but for me it’s all part of what keeps it exciting and interesting.
I hope that the playfulness of my approach is reflected in my work – It means no two pieces are the same!
What would be your best advice for those starting out?
Don’t be shy about putting your work out there for others to see. I created an Instagram account for my work way before I felt ready to, and it has turned out to be not just a great confidence booster but also a great platform to connect with other makers, artists, and audiences looking to purchase work.
It’s so useful to be able to exchange advice and feedback with other makers and business-owners as well as customers, and I’ve had lots of opportunities and sales come through the account.
Plus it’s good practice (and very satisfying) to visually document your work and progress!
What’s next for you, any upcoming projects you’re working on?
Right now I’m working on setting up my website’s online shop, and on making some of my most popular pieces for the shop ahead of Christmas. I’m also in the process of finding the right stockists for my work, so it feels like a productive and exciting time.
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