In Conversation

Hometown
Edinburgh
55.9533° N, 3.1883° W

Where were you brought up and where are you based now?
I was born and grew up in Slovenia, a small country in the middle of Europe. For quite some time I lived in the capital Ljubljana, but then moved to a small town on the border with Italy. In my early twenties I moved to Edinburgh with my partner to study at Edinburgh College of Art and have been living here since then.

What are the main differences you've noticed in the culture and the natural environment?
On one hand, Slovenia has a very diverse landscape and natural environment as well as rich cultural heritage. You can get from the striking rocky mountaintops of Alps to the Mediterranean Sea in an hour by car. There are beautiful river valleys and lakes, endless forests, underground caves, castles in stunning rural settings and busy cities. There is a place for everyone. Scotland, on the other hand, has a more uniform natural environment and vast landscapes. Rolling hills and soft mountaintops are very inviting and a perfect place to rest your body and mind, long stretches of diverse coastal areas are definitely my favourite. Dynamic cities are exciting and full of life, culture and adventure. People in Slovenia and Scotland are very similar, always kind, welcoming and passionate. The only thing I miss in Scotland is having all seasons well defined with proper snow in the winter and hot summers, but even so, both countries feel like home to me.

Can you tell us more about your background in landscape architecture and your progression into ceramics.
Nature, art and design go hand in hand and landscape architecture was and still is my passion and great inspiration. Early on, I realised that working behind the computer in an office setting was not right for me and soon I picked up crafts with wood, glass, clay and printmaking. Transition from landscape architecture to ceramics happened gradually and quite naturally and I am really grateful to be sitting here right now a few years down the line working in the medium that I love and running my own small independent business.


How important is nature to you and how do you connect with it?
Connecting with nature, being present in the landscape and natural environment does not only give me inspiration, but it also fills me up with energy. I especially feel deep connection with the sea and coastal areas and Scotland has plenty of beautiful and wild coasts. So, I try to go out and roam around as much as possible, dragging my partner along! 

You have been collecting sand from remote coasts of Scotland and incorporating them into your sandscapes collection, can you share some of the locations you visited and describe the landscape?
Over the last ten years living here I visited most of the remote corners and islands of Scotland and yes, I collect sand on my every trip which is then incorporated into my ongoing collection of functional and decorative tableware entitled Sandscape. Locations that have a special place in my heart are the Isle of Harris and Lewis, Papa Westray and North Ronaldsay in Orkney, as well as the isle of Islay, Shetlands and the most N/W corner of Sutherland. The beaches are very diverse in all of these places, though they all have similar striking colour and texture contrasts between dark rigid rocks, the light soft coloured sand and fluidity of the clear tropical-looking turquoise sea. The feeling of peace and connection with nature is overwhelming and one cannot but stop and be present in the moment, let go of other thoughts and absorb the energy.

What do you love most about your work?
Three things, the pleasure of mixing sand into clay, the butterfly feeling in my belly when I open the kiln after the glaze firing and seeing people connect to my work.

What do you treasure most?
Time spent with loved ones, friends and colleagues exchanging ideas and encouraging each other. But then I also treasure the time I spend on my own – just me, my wheel and the clay… 
People, places, works of art ?  What are your favourite sources of inspiration?
Objects and materials found in nature. Textures, colours, contrasts. As well as works of art and crafts from other creative people.

What do you do or where do you go to relax when you're not working?
Being in nature, that might be just a walk in the park or proper hike in the wild. Though sometimes a good nap in my hammock also does the trick.

Where would you love to visit? Any particular reason why?
The desert, any desert! To experience the vastness of barren land, the empty and monochrome landscape, the sand and the sun. Not to mention of course to collect some of the sand, too, and make a small collection of desertscapes.

 
What is next on the horizon for you and Emporium Julium?
Things have changed a little due to Covid19 and my plan is getting my own studio and expand my work. I hope to be able to do that in the next year or two. This would mean that I can work independently of the shared studio’s rota, produce larger scale pieces and deliver orders in a shorter time frame.

 Describe Emporium Julium in three words.
Unique organic ceramics