Koskela is thrilled to welcome a new ceramicist to the mix! Kate Brouwer is the genius behind Asobimasu Clay. She creates elegant pieces with an emphasis on form and utility whilst maintaining a clean aesthetic. Inspired by Japanese styles and techniques around quiet admiration on each making process, Kate is inspired by their reverence for tableware as something to be cherished every day.
When/how did you first discover your love for ceramics?
I’ve always been creative, that runs in my veins. Filling my days with artistic projects keeps me happy and feeling fulfilled. My ceramic journey began as a break from my day to day life, it wasn’t really a thought-out plan. I found myself wanting some major changes in my work life, but I wasn’t sure how or which direction. I left my full-time job and hired a studio, mainly to focus on myself and make space to grow creatively. It didn’t feel like a career move at the time, I was simply creating space to re-navigate and ceramics gave me the creative satisfaction I was seeking. It stuck with me and continues to grow into something far greater than I ever dreamed.
What has been the biggest influence on your creative practice?
I have an admiration for Japanese pottery as well as their culture. The quiet thought out nature of pottery and its function is so beautifully respected in Japanese culture. I appreciate their philosophy that resonates behind simple objects like tableware.
What is your favourite part of the process?
My favourite part of the process is seeing my work functioning in its complete state, this love is equally matched by the physicality of sitting behind a wheel and digging my hands deep into clay. The knowledge my hands hold in creating new forms is ever satisfying.
With each new idea, there comes a stage of exploration, allowing the object to form however it will. I use my hands for this and allow my mind to explore. I don’t often start a project with illustrations, but rather just get making. The same expression comes when arranging flowers. I have each object in its completed state and I move freely with flowers and branches. Not overthinking it, just letting the beauty find itself. It’s these quiet, creative moments that bring me deep satisfaction.
What have you found to be the most challenging element of being a ceramicist?
I think for me, the biggest challenge is getting weighed down in administration. I absolutely love making, but I’ve also chosen the path of running a pottery school and studio. It’s a balance to maintain enough creative quiet time for myself, as well as keep up with production deadlines, alongside the necessities involved with keeping a studio running. Making time to explore new ideas is always my greatest challenge, but I work on blocking out time and switching off when I need to. Being organised in my creative life is very important.
What is one thing that you’d like people who buy your ceramics to know about them?
Function and form is equally valuable to me in my work. My journey into pottery began as a floral artist, seeking more than a traditional vase. I wanted to use forms that were playful and inquisitive, allowing flowers to move freely within their structure. I couldn’t find what I was looking for, so I began creating things myself. This led me down a path of deep exploration, falling in love with each aspect of the making process. Being someone who also loves to spend time in the kitchen, I soon found myself delving deep into tableware. It is my hope that the form and functionality of these pieces in your home, brings you as much satisfaction as it does for me during the making process. I hope these timeless pieces take up residency on your dining tables, whether housing floral arrangements gathered from your garden or a deep bowl for sharing meals with friends. May they quietly add something special in the day to day practice of enjoying your homes.