Updated: Jun 29
By Anke Buchmann, 23 July 2021
Laura Pasquino is a ceramicist based in Amsterdam. Her work is informed by the Japanese Zen philosophy, appearing very calm and alive at the same time. Her peaceful vessels embody simplicity, asymmetry and the imperfection. Laura is currently working on her first solo exhibition that will take place later this year in Amsterdam.
Even though she had been always deeply interested in art, it took a travel to Japan for Laura to decide to end her previous career in the field of hospitality and real estate and dedicate herself to ceramics. "My parents used to be art collectors and naturally I have been surrounded by the arts since a very young age."
Laura describes, she was fascinated with Japanese ceramics, and decided at one point to travel to Kyoto, Japan. She took an apprenticeship with a Japanese pottery master, where she learned the skills while working alongside him in the studio. That was the moment, she knew what she was meant to do.
I discovered Laura's work via Instagram and noticed similarities in aesthetics and values to HANDFUL and my artistic work. I was excited about the common appreciation for materiality and tactility, simplicity and mindful process. So I reached out to ask her for an interview to share her work ethic and approach.
Dear Laura, you describe your work as the art of imperfection. What interests you about the notion of imperfection?
Imperfections make an object interesting and give it spirit. Flaws and cracks are also a reminder of time and that nothing is permanent.
How does the Japanese philosophy of Zen inform your work and does it also guide you in your everyday life?
The aesthetic principles of Zen philosophy also known as wabi-sabi, have been a great influence on my work right from the beginning, when I was doing my pottery apprenticeship in Japan. Simplicity, asymmetry, tranquility and freeness are some of the key elements that repeat in my work. In everyday life it is a helpful guide to be conscious of a present moment and appreciating the simple things.
What brought you to work with clay?
Curiosity, coincidence and perfect timing to switch a career.
Why do you make? What does making mean to you?
I make ceramics because it make me feel truly alive. My art is a stage where my stories are told every piece is a reflection of me at that particular moment.
Do you have a daily routine? If so, which one?
Every day is different and I enjoy not having to make a lot of plans ahead or stick to routines. If there’s one thing I do every single day, it is going to the studio. Even if I am not planning to work, I go there anyway and have a cup of coffee.
Can you describe your process of making a moon jar - from start to finish?
The process of making a moon jar is slow and different every time it depends on the clay I decide to work with and the result I have in mind. Sometimes I hand-build and sometimes I throw on the wheel. Typically I make it from 2 parts and join them together when the balance of humidity and dryness are ideal. On each side after the price dries for a few days I glaze it and let it dry. Finally I single fire the jar at 1250C.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Currently it is antiques and archaeological finds. Inspiration often comes only when I have clay in my ands and it reminds me of something or a place.
How long do you work on one of your jars and do you ever work simultaneously on pieces?
5-7 days. Yes I normally work simultaneously on a few pieces.
What is the clays and glazes you use?
I use stoneware clay and brush-on glazes. I love the material qualities of stoneware and the visual effect of rough textures that it allows me to create. My favourite glazes are neutrals. I buy the materials in Amsterdam or dig the clay myself.
Find Laura and her work online: