International Isolation Interview with Krzysztof Strzelecki
Next in our series of International Isolation Interviews we invited Krzysztof Strzelecki to share what life is like in his studio in Poland and how his practice has developed over the last year.
SEAM: Have you always worked in ceramics? What inspired you to start working in
Krzysztof Strzelecki: My adventure with ceramic started for a short time around 2011 when I was living in Warsaw, I took evening classes where I learned that clay has a lot of possibilities and great potential. Later I was travelling around India and Europe and never had the opportunity to come back to this medium until I visited Japan and took a wheel throwing course in 2019 before my final year at university. What inspired me to work with clay was the possibilities of this medium, you can paint, carve, making sculpture, furniture, dishes - just everything. The big influence was the fact I like to feel the material that I work with under my fingers and control the process of creating with my hands. Leaving a mark of me on every piece.
SEAM: What does a typical day in the studio look like?
KS: Every day is different in the ceramic studio. The work rhythm is determined by the clay and the stage of dryness. Sometimes you need to leave clay for hours to let it harden and sometimes you have to work fast before it’s too dry. Because of that I often work on two artworks at the same time. My process of making a vase starts at
the computer where I make a collage with drawings and photographs for my vase. In
my studio, I roll slabs of clay and I let it rest for few hours before I assemble them
together. The next step is to transfer my collage onto the object and make necessary
changes. I am then able to paint and curve the outlines that add details.
This detailed stage sometimes takes a few days and with bigger pieces can take a week, by this
time the clay is too dry to work longer. When this is done and the vase is drying until
it is bone dry I start the same process with another work.
The next step is to carefully load a kiln with bone dry pieces. At this stage, work is
very fragile and easily cracked or broken. After biscuit firing it’s time for glazing and
then I fire the pieces again at a higher temperature. Two days later I am able to open
the kiln and see the final results. If everything went according to plan and the piece
looks perfect it's time to take pictures of it.
How you can see there isn’t a typical day in the studio. Every day has different energy
of work sometimes is slow and quiet and another day hot and with physical work. I
think this is the reason I love working with clay. There is no risk of getting into a
monotonous rhythm of work.
SEAM: You studied at Camberwell College of Arts. Did you enjoy your time there? How
did your study there influence the work you have gone on to pursue?
KS: Camberwell College of Arts was a special time in my life. Today, two years from graduation, I think it was the most important part of my art life. Camberwell is part of the much larger University of the Arts London (UAL) and sometimes there was a feeling that students were ignored by this big corporate system. For example,
accepting too many students for the space in the studio and available equipment
leaves you with the feeling students are here not to make progress in their creativity
and helped to develop their skills but rather to just as a source of money from their