Hailing from Australia, Anna-Karina Elias is a ceramist who is also known as an “earth-bender”. Elias molds clay and forms different shapes making perfectly imperfect one-of-a-kind pieces. She calls her practice multi-sensorial… perfect for either a cup of tea or for displaying freshly picked vegetables from the garden.
Up until sixteen years ago, Elias worked in Sydney’s fashion and interiors industry until she decided to move out of the city to open a bookstore. Having some extra time, she decided to take a ceramics class at a local art school. The magic was instantaneous, and Elias quickly began developing her signature style of raw, light tableware.
Elias says that her process is instinctual. Most important to her is how weight plays with size, how color plays with material, and how composition plays with proportion. In order to fulfill the aim of a multi-sensorial experience, Elias physically engages with her pieces.
The process depends on what she’s working on. If it is a functional ware or vessel that Elias is designing, her process is linear. With a specific outcome, there is a tangible aspect that goes along with the process. Specifically here, more than one is being made and thus, there is a repetitive and rhythmic method that Elias subscribes to in regards to form, glaze, and function so that everything remains 100% her own.
The process behind making sculptural pieces or pieces for an exhibition is completely different and much less transparent. Elias says that often her mind takes over and she begins basic experiments of writing and drawing until she completely surrenders to her creative brain and lets the work happen organically.
Sometimes, it takes making several sculptural pieces for a collection before she realizes that it isn’t what she wants; and other times, making just one piece cements the fact that it was not right. One thing Elias has learned is to keep the “bad” pieces because there aren’t any “bad” pieces and using them as a reference is a great new starting point.
Elias works from a converted hardware store that has been divided into twelve artist studios. Her studio has high ceilings with timber beams and flooring; and the room has been divided horizontally by a wall of large windows.
The best part- this setup allows Elias to have a small gallery and showroom in the front while she is able to work from the back of the space.
Elias finds two sources of inspiration: nature and the human condition. It is through this inspiration that her sculptural pieces come to life. The end result is the form, function, and glaze-making of Elias’ objects that end up being authentically hers.