Italian ceramist Paola Paronetto has artistry in her DNA. Her grandfather was a sculptor, and growing up she spent a lot of time watching him work. For the past decade, Paronetto has devoted herself to developing a unique method of paper clay with is a blend of paper pulp, natural fibers, and clay. The result of this mixture is an unusual texture with a delicate quality.
Paronetto has spent more than thirty years researching different techniques in working with clay. The Italian potter creates iconic pieces using a mixture of different types of paper, cardboard, and clay.
Sometimes the objects resemble flower petals, mushrooms, or sea anemones. Other times, they take the form of functional objects such as lamps. The “Cartocci Collection” which debuted in 2016, came about as an evolution from Paronetto’s earlier work. The similar shapes take on stronger colors such as yellow, blue, and green. Nevertheless, the black and white series is where the vessels appear most delicate and where the organic forms are most predominant.
Paronetto says that the major challenge was using cardboard. Even though she wanted to use clay; she didn’t want the final product to look like ceramic. As she gathers inspiration from nature, the potter’s creative visions arrive suddenly. At these moments, she has to hurry and sketch them on paper so that she doesn’t forget her imagery. Then, Paronetto rushes to mold them in clay. Following this stage, she makes prototypes and chooses the ones that best match her initial vision.
The uniqueness of the vessels comes from the emphasized texture of the paper, cardboard, cellulose, and fiber which is added to the ceramic mixture before it heads into the kiln. Sometimes the pieces are embellished with a special print made by applying ceramic oxides to the un-kilned pieces. The structures are then fixed in a second firing with opaque crystals.
Each piece possesses a completely unique personality. Every vessel is slightly different in form, with a unique tactile sensation, and varying composition details. Surprisingly, the pieces are waterproof, washable, and absolutely perfect for holding flowers!
The bottle-shaped vessels are “Giorgio Morandi-esque” still-life landscapes. These pieces are quite sculptural, some are much larger than you’d expect a paper-thin vessel to be. Paronetto said, “Color wraps my pieces and creates and interrelation between them. I’m definitely inspired by nature and the continuous change of its colors throughout the season.”