It all started with a broken doll's arm. While walking on the beach in the middle of a Portuguese summer, designer Robert Krasznai stumbled upon the tiny treasure poking out of the sand. He snapped a picture to add to his collection of found objects, thinking nothing of it.
Fast forward some years later, his ceramic Arms and Crafts collection birthed from that lone arm is well underway. At first glance, his all-white collection rebels against the kaleidoscopic vibrancy that Spanish ceramics are often associated with. Krasznai attaches chubby hands and feet to bowls, vases, mugs and various kitchenware items in blasé fashion. Whether dangling from the sides or emerging from the centre, it's jarringly creepy — although that wasn't what Krasznai intended.
How did you get into ceramics?
As a child I spent most of my time playing with stones, sand, water and any object around. During my first years in university, I was lacking something and needed to work with my hands and get dirty, the same way I did as a child. So I started attending ceramic classes once a week, then twice. Then more and more...
What is the Krasznai aesthetic?
It's a thin line trying to find the right balance between tradition and modernity, giving equal importance to traditional methods and also the contemporary ones.
Is Krasznai offering a rebellious alternative to ceramics?
Working in ceramics must be some kind of rebellion in itself, to a certain lifestyle that one is supposed to follow. I try to follow my interests, which are clay as a material, texture, volume and scale. I am not yet that interested in patterns and illustrations. It feels like make-up to me and I don't feel comfortable using that in my work.
Are there any similarities between traditional ceramic making and what you do?
The techniques are the same, whether you make traditional or modern ceramics or whatever you want to call it. If you slipcast, you slipcast. If you throw, you throw. It's all about the language. That's what differentiates you from the rest. Depending on your language and aesthetics, the works will be completely different. But the roots are the same.
People have been saying that this collection is creepy.
Then I ask, "creepy in a good or bad way?". Most of the time their answer is positive. There's not a hidden message behind the collection or anything, I just enjoy watching people smile when they see it for the first time. It's priceless.
The Arms and Crafts collection is available at 'Barcelona Transgressive Designers: from Art to Design', organised by kapok from 18 May to 18 June.
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