Kina Ceramic Design is a Scotland-based company by Karolina Gorska, an artist who produces quirky porcelain pieces. Her online shop features handcrafted goods ranging from sugar bowls to wedding ring pillows. I was initially charmed by the company’s surreal cups and bowls with fingers and toes, and wasted no time getting in contact with the artist.
“I graduated from a ceramic design course on Academy of Art and Design and have been working with porcelain for about six years now,” Gorska told me in a message. “I have never thought that my work would be noticed somewhere else than ‘in my own backyard.'”
She went on to say: “When I was a student, I had not dreamt about selling my projects to far away countries and the reality outside academy wasn’t so colorful either. But one day, I decided that I have to give myself a chance to do what I love. When someone like you writes me a message like this I know that my efforts are worth it! It still seems to be unreal that somewhere there on the other side of the planet there are people who find my work unique and admire it. This simply makes me happy and gives me wings to fly even higher.”
Check out more Espy on Etsy posts here and read my full interview with Gorska below to find out more about the artist and her works…
Gorska’s experience with porcelain dates back to her childhood…
A little bit about myself: My passion for porcelain goes back to my childhood memories. Firstly, it was about playing with clay. When I was six years old, I had my first contact with this material. As a child, I used to spend every summer holiday with my siblings in the beautiful countryside of the lake district Mazury in Poland. I remember my dad mining clay for us from a small deposit nearby our cottage. We played for hours creating simple dishes and figurines. Although it was all childish fun, it directed the subsequent course of my life. Soon after, I knew what I wanted to do when grew up.
Kina Ceramic Design is the name for the brand I have chosen for my creative activity. It was created in 2013, when I visited my partner in Edinburgh. Together, we thought that it may be a right time to give it more business-like style.
Gorska’s art is inspired by many different people, places and things…
I find inspiration everywhere. I like observing environments I am in and people around me, combining traditional and simple forms of crockery with daily use objects, like faucets, or sometimes with a bit of surreal combination, like fingers or toes.
I like creating products that make their users surprised and smile, like my Spiky Mug, Mug with Fingers, Breakfast Geo Set, or Speech Balloon plates and bowls. I like adding additional dimension to my projects to change a traditional kitchen landscape.
Gorska’s feelings toward her pieces…
I enjoy all my projects. Behind each of them there is a kind of story or some relation to my previous experience. Some of them are more popular than others in the terms of selling, like Spiky Mug, or mugs and bowls with fingers. It is surprising that with many of my ideas sitting in my head I find some inspiration somewhere else, which in some way gives another value to the project.
With my Breakfast Geo Set, I had initial drawings in my sketchbook then I found my inspiration while on a trip to Morocco. The topographic shape of the dishes reflect the Anti-Atlas mountain range. I like very much my latest project, Paperthin Tea Cup, which beautifully underlines the delicate matter of porcelain and reflects its tendency to deformation.
Gorska describes her work in one word…
Hahaha, it’s difficult to come up with just one word, reducing the whole range of values into one simple word. Maybe a haiku master could do it. 😉 “Kina” probably describes my work best. By the way, did you know that “kina” comes from the word china? Meaning porcelain, not my name, which is short from Karolina, but it’s kind of coincidental. Oh, at least I like to think in this way :). Possible adjective here would definitely be the word “fun” — I love what I do, that’s it!
What Gorska has learned about herself, as an artist, through running Kina Ceramic Design…
Coming from a rather small place but with big dream to achieve something and do from heart, this can be difficult, but if you really want something, the world is there for you. Just make enough effort to do it (this would be my advice as well).
I’m learning how to work with porcelain all the time, experimenting with various materials, glazes or pigments to find a right way to create my projects. Each idea and project brings new challenges, new ways of thinking about creating in porcelain, about firing it in the kiln. Working with porcelain requires discipline, planning work and strategy. The whole process has to be planned carefully, every step has to be taken at exact moment — one after another. Otherwise, you will end up with a waste.
I am learning how to be entrepreneur from practice. Having an artistic background you can imagine that this a real steep learning curve — running your business, promotion and customer service…Work itself can be physically challenging, especially before Christmas.
That’s quite surprising, but I have actually discovered that I can work in almost any place. Arranging a new workshop, which I am doing right now, is not that difficult and impossible. Well, OK, you may need a bit of luck too, to find the right people in the right time. 🙂
Gorska’s advice to other aspiring artists, especially those interested in working with porcelain…
That’s a lot of responsibility to lend advice to other people. But let’s try. Few things: persistence and believing in yourself and your projects, that your work will get where you want (these days Internet does a great job). Sit in your workshop and take ideas sitting in your head on physical level […] when they take form, they can be worked on. Experiment and be patient.
There is one more fresh thing I actually would like to rise. Not sure whether it’s the right moment, but it’s just happened. And as I mentioned that Internet does a great job as it opens to potential customers, there is also the downside of it.
I have just found out that at least two of my projects landed on a wholesale website being offered by Chinese ceramic company. They literally stole my photos, placed their website address on them like the photos belong to them and offered to produce thousands of items for almost nothing. It’s frustrating and really sad. When I looked at their website, I also recognized a lot of products created by other designers that I saw on other marketplaces or in online magazines.
Bright side, the products must be popular and attractive. But truly it’s sad. The whole point of independently handmade stuff has just vanished. I can only hope that such action will be treated accordingly. Unfortunately, such activity can be really devastating to someone’s real hard work. Anyway, it sucks!
Gorska’s work is available through Etsy. Check out her shop and tell me your favorite pieces.
What better way to celebrate my birthday, Halloween and this lovely work than with a giveaway? Kina Gorska was kind enough to offer one of my readers a porcelain bowl with fingers (available here), which happens to be one of my favorite things in the shop. “This small surreal porcelain bowl supported on three life-like, human-sized fingers can be a multifunctional dish.”
The giveaway is open until Thursday, Oct. 23. Winner will be contacted via email soon after the giveaway has closed. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below.