Behind the Scenes: Vera Gezenko
Enter the world of tableware designer Vera Gezenko.
от Антония Баръмова
From the very first moment I met Vera Gezenko, I was impressed by the clear vision, soft colors and interesting shapes of her handcrafted porcelain crockery. Each component supplemented the other smoothly, stimulating visual enjoyment. On the practical side, the cups she makes are super light and the big handles (a trademark of hers) make them easy to pick up and have a good grip without dropping them (shout out to my sloppy friends).
Her shop/studio is not too far from the downtown so I decided to walk. Regardless of the close vicinity to the buzz of the city, I felt very detached and took pleasure in the silent and tranquil environment.
Vera greets me with a huge, welcoming smile. The shopfront is stylishly arranged with beautiful cups in all kinds of sizes and marvelous forms. The milky and easeful colours of her products stand out from the dark walls gracing her shop.
Going down the workshop I feel a sweet anticipation of what I’m going to see and I try to mentally picture the look of the space we are about to enter. I am always very excited from this first impression I get from an artist’s workspace - it feels like I am diving into their microcosm, feeling what they feel when they are here endless hours creating and creating.
The first thing I see in the long wall ahead of me is a huge wooden table filled with casting-forms and cups that are waiting to be finished. In a first glance, the room looks very chaotic and disorderly, but on a deeper look, I start to notice the harmony and how everything has its place and it is there, where it should be.
It’s the creative chaos reigning in an artist’s workspace that hides their distinctive spirit and charm. The whole mess is a representation of their own creative world which follows its own order and rhythm.
She agrees to show me the making of an object and I focus on her hands and the movement she makes as she talks about the process and what she’s doing at that very moment. She first showed me the casting moulds and told me about the different techniques of casting a particular shape. After the porcelain is put in the casting-form and is evened out it’s time for putting the moulds in the kiln. After that there are so many specificities about the time and intensity of firing, and how the different types of clay and glaze react to them that I don’t want to confuse you with all of them. Bottom line you have to be very precise because (especially with porcelain) everything can go wrong and it can go wrong fast.
Luckily this time it didn’t and Vera, using a small hammer, hammered out an almost perfect shape of the emblematic pizza plate from one of the casting moulds. After it cools down a little bit she refines the shape by removing the little imperfections with something that looks like sandpaper and a little tool that could’ve very easily come from a dental clinic. Not that I doubted it, but now I really realise with how much labour and care Vera creates her porcelain tableware.
Although I know I won’t remember all the things she tells me as this knowledge is a result of many years of hard work and constant learning on the go, I nevertheless listen with great attention and desire to learn more. She speaks calmly but with high spirits about her craft, like she’s telling a story to a friend. This type of easiness in artists when they speak about their art inspires me so much!
She tells me about her obsession with making every line perfect and how complicated it is to achieve such precision when using your hands to create. I try to convince her that the small imperfections in the forms of the objects are in fact part of the charm and I would not perceive them as mistakes in the work but rather marks of authenticity. Of course, for a person like her, the answer is accompanied by a slight smile and understanding of what I am trying to tell her, but I am also quite sure that it won’t change the way she’s been doing things so far - everything must be executed to a standard of perfection and above all with much love.
I relinquish arguing and decide that it’s time to leave her to do what she does best despite the excitement I have to continue our talk. I have one last eyeful from the minimalistic beauty of Vera’s creations and we decide to meet again over a cup of tea.
You can shop Vera Gezenko's minimalistic tableware via this link
Learn more about the designer here