Dominique Stutz, Roderen, France

Ceramics Monthly: What techniques do you use to make your work?

Dominique Stutz: My pieces are built using a combination of various ceramic techniques: slab construction, coiling, stamping, press molding, pinching, wheel throwing, and carving.

I construct using slabs that get their form once dropped onto natural objects (seeds, fruits, vegetables, tree branches, etc.), or on manufactured packaging shapes that I find interesting. All those possibilities give me a wide range of formal units—this is my own personal endless library. I then join them to create new entities.

1 Monocellular #1, 13¾ in. (35 cm) in height, stoneware, fired to 2228°F (1220°C) in oxidation, 2020.

I also employ a free-form progression using coiling and pinching techniques. A permanent part of my work is dedicated to glaze research and rigorous testing, which often takes me much more time than building objects. My works can sometimes involve multiple firings at high and low temperatures. 

All these processes provide me everyday satisfaction and are a lot of fun.

CM: What is the most challenging aspect of working in clay?

DS: The most challenging aspect of my work resides in creating a new organic world, one that shows familiar references, as well as using my own, and hopefully distinctive, language. I aim for a dynamic tension between power and finesse, evoking duality of textures and colors as a raw and chaotic adaptive force of nature. I push the material to the limit.

2 Entité #1.4, 16½ in. (42 cm) in height, stoneware, fired to 2228°F (1220°C) in oxidation, 2020.

I try to find the best encounter between the results of glaze chemistry and artistic formal investigation. I prepare glaze so that it becomes a form and bulk rather than just being a surface. I use vibrant colors to bring freshness, vitality, and joy to my work. I play with bright, matte, and highly tactile surfaces.

I share my vivid perceptions of form and movement through abstract organic objects. I try to insert a blow-up effect to some part of my sculptures. This effect is based on my fascination for micro-organisms unveiled by electron microscopy. Their shapes and curves may suggest the growth or the mutation of living entities. Shapes of human body parts, plants, or animal parts are aggregated together, proposing a hybrid identity. I search for the right balance between textures, colors, shapes, energies, and rhythms, so that the result will trigger a feeling and will suggest an emotional response.

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