2021 Emerging Artist: Sukanjana Kanjanabatr

Sukanjana Kanjanabatr, Bangkok, Thailand

Ceramics Monthly: What type of clay and which techniques do you use to make your work and why?

Sukanjana Kanjanabatr: I use porcelain because of its characteristics, strength, translucency, and its white color. I make my ceramic art by using paper, cotton, and porcelain slip to form thousands of thin, circular porcelain disks stacked or connected to simple shapes and structures.

This series was developed from some of my previous works from 2018, which were very fragile. They could be broken easily if pressed hard, and their delicacy made them difficult to preserve. This experience challenged me to keep experimenting more and more with this process and to find the right recipe to make thin clay stronger after being fired.

1 Untitled #3, 5 in. (13 cm) in diameter, porcelain, fired to 2192°F (1200°C) in oxidation, 2020.

CM: What excites you about the field of ceramics?

SK: Before becoming a ceramic artist, I was an interior designer for three years. I did not enjoy sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time, so I decided to quit and explore other media, including woodworking and sewing, but ceramics caught my attention.

Ever since I first experimented with ceramics, I couldn’t stop. Ceramic materials and processes challenge and engage me. Artists need to learn and understand the materials and techniques to manipulate clay in exciting ways to create pieces. I enjoy working with my hands, experimenting, and having fun with endless possibilities. There are many factors that I cannot completely control; when I open the kiln, the results always surprise me. That is how ceramics simultaneously excites me and teaches me about life—I learn to fail, understand nature, accept things as they are, and sometimes let it go.

Making ceramics offers the chance to be by myself in silence and to slow down. Life in Bangkok is fast, hectic, and stressful. My experience has helped me to understand ceramics and myself. I can appreciate things in front of me and find happiness more easily.

2 Untitled #4, 10¼ in. (26 cm) in diameter, porcelain, fired to 2192°F (1200°C) in oxidation, 2020.

Apart from making work, I also set up my ceramic studio, called Trampoline Studio, in Bangkok, where I teach ceramics and have created a community for ceramic enthusiasts. When I worked alone, it was challenging to be inspired and ask for advice. At Trampoline, young ceramic artists can ask questions, work on their designs, and have fun exchanging ideas, which makes it more enjoyable and exciting for everyone.

Ceramics is everywhere in our daily lives and can be many things. Due to my architectural background, I had a chance to design and create ceramic tiles and floor patterns, ceramic lamps, and some ceramic art pieces for an interior-design project. Those are the perfect opportunities to let people know more about ceramics, see ceramics in other forms, and appreciate ceramic art and craft.

Learn more on Facebook at @K.sukanjana.Ceramics.

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