Ana Kerin, ceramacist and founder of KANA London has been kind enough to grace our Spitalfields boutique with an exhibit of her incredible work. You can come and see the collection of Ceramics and Paintings made specially for the space at our store, or you can browse them all (and purchase them) on the KANA London website:
During lockdown, we asked Ana Kerin of KANA London to answer a few questions so that you (and us at OQ) could get an insight into the mind behind the creations. Read below for our interview with Ana:
1. Tell us a little bit about KANA...
Kana is born from my artist studio, as a functional design-focused ceramics studio that combines art and design. Over time, I directed a big part of my creative practice into ceramics. My main focus through Kana is collaborations.
I have been through extended Fine Art training, from a unique art high school to Studying Sculpture as my BA and MA at Academy for Fine Art and Design in Ljubljana and NCAd in Dublin. Alongside my fine art practice and academic studies, I have worked as a producer and project manager for many NGO organisations, developing and executing projects on a national and international scale. Somehow this led me to work in film as well as in creative studios.
This inspired me to move to London where I ended up working between production, art direction, styling, and in hospitality and events. I got inspired by working with so many creative people and industries, and very quickly got pulled into many exciting collaborations as an artist, which lead into developing Kana as a studio focused on "art meets function"; design in the medium of ceramics. I miss working with other materials sometimes... watch this space! It is incredible how all of my experiences come in handy for running my own studio full-time.
2. Have you always preferred using your hands to build your pieces rather than a wheel? What is it that you love about this technique?
I am very tactile person. I connect to materials, to my work, and to myself through sense of touch. Because of this It was very natural for me to become a sculptor.
I have worked with many materials, and I will return to some of them. But essentially, I find it necessary to work only with my hands, in direct contact with the material, with as few tools as possible.
I tried to train on the wheel for couple of years, but it just didn't feel right for me!
3. You now offer clay workshops and retreats... what made you want to move towards teaching instead of creating?
It felt like a natural evolution. I always loved teaching classes and they have been an integral part alongside both my fine art and ceramic practice. It feels rewarding and beautiful to share your point of view and help people connect with their creativity, explore materials, relax, find themselves at peace. It’s very rewarding.
When it comes to retreats they have been a long-time-coming dream. Teaching in a natural environment, taking people out of the city into a different setting so they can unplug, having people on this journey with you for a whole week, when you can very slowly take time and properly explore and enjoy the process … it’s very special and transformative for everyone’s practice and headspace. It’s very different than coming to a class for a couple of hours after work when your headspace is still caught with events of the day and commitments for tomorrow.
Retreats are ultimately my happiest space when it comes to teaching, I make sure I include a lot of time for relaxing, different art practices, yoga, walks, swimming and nourishing healthy food! It’s been many years in the making, where I’ve been bringing together different knowledge streams and elements – and I’ve spent a long time looking for the most suitable space (essential for the success of the retreat!).
In the long run, I’m hoping for a permanent space… but for now, I’ve found amazing people to work with. I am beyond excited to host this year’s retreat in October (Now postponed until Spring 2021). I feel it will be special healing space after the pandemic took over most of the 2020. I really can't wait to be with everyone on an organic farm in Portugal in golden autumn sun. Gathering the energy for the winter.
4. Here at OQ we really value being a part of a community, how important is it to you to collaborate with other artists and companies and work within a creative community?
Collaborations are essential for me, it’s an extremely important part of my practice as well as my business model. I believe in connecting and pollinating ideas, and really thrive from working with other artists, designers and brands. This was the reason why I developed Kana as an alternative side of my practice. It’s where I can connect and collaborate.
5. What made you interested to work with OQ?
I got very excited when I got an invitation to be be one of the artists in residence at OQ Spitalfields. It aligned perfectly when I heard that the Spitalfields shop was to go through a refurb by a friend of mine – the amazing designer, Fred Rigby. Our work always looks good together and it was exciting to play with display ideas and be able to use a shop front window to create the exhibition.
I don’t have public facing windows in my studio, so I never get the chance to create displays. I really love seeing my work in other spaces, and observing how different it looks when it inhabits a new space. It’s inspiring for me to be able to curate and display my work in neutral environment.
6. Tell us the idea behind your new display in our Spitalfields location...
I wanted to show the variety of my work, from framed paintings to sculptural pieces and functional and decorative tableware. It was wonderful to work with Fred Rigby’s design of the space and his beautiful natural tones.
As a lot of my work uses also very earthy tones, which I decided to bring out in cobalt blue plinths. This was to make the exhibition stand out, and to almost act as a frame for my work. I hope it will make people want to bring some more of these art works into their living spaces.
7. Which is your favourite OQ frame and why do you love it!?
I wear the Martel in Amber. They are super light and easy to wear, I am very sensitive to having glasses that are too heavy or not comfortable. I also feel that it brightens up my day and my face :)!