Unearthed Collection
Tuesday 09 May 2017

Inspiration:

Sevak Zargarian's current Unearthed Interiors collection is a range of interior products and accessories handmade in his garden studio. So called because of the act of sanding the surface ‘unearths' the random pattern created through the process of casting. The inspiration was a pure process; within ceramics there is something called 'grog', which is ground-up fired ceramics added back into the clay for strength, support and texture. It only comes in either white or sand coloured and Sevak had seen a lot of work using coloured clays and white grog, giving it a lovely surface pattern, but never the other way around. Exploring that in the final year of his degree and making his own coloured grog, adding it into white clay. From there it was just a natural progression to his current style, where the grog is much larger for a more graphic surface pattern.

Development:

Sevak started off making jars using smaller sized pieces of coloured grog with traditional slip-casting methods. From there he reversed it, and used much larger shards of coloured grog and sprayed the outside of the work to reveal the sharpness of the grog. However the inside was smooth and sanded, and intrigued by the pattern, he designed a collection of tableware to make use of the random pattern of the coloured grog dispersed within the body of the clay. Earlier this year, Sevak designed a new collection of interior products using a new material, parian, which gives the surface a much deeper interest and very tactile finish. The new collection is more refined and has a stronger aesthetic, making better use of the random pattern.

Process:

''I've played around with this technique and material in many ways previously, but once I fine tuned it to my current style using parian, a type of porcelain similar to marble once polished that is also slightly translucent, I sketched out some simple cylindrical shapes that would give focus on the surface rather than the form, with a slight chamfer at the bottom to elevate the work above surface it sits on. I model these designs in plaster and use these to create plaster moulds, that hold the negative of the form. To make the pieces themselves, I colour some parian slip, which is liquid clay, and pour it out so it dries as a sheet. I fire those in my electric kiln and break it up with a rolling pin - a great stress reliever! Once broken, I sieve the shards to take out all the dust and smaller pieces and mix them into more parian slip. This mixture of white slip and coloured shards is poured into plaster moulds, left for a certain amount of time so the plaster can absorb the moisture from the slip and is then poured out leaving a skin of clay where it meets plaster, a process called slip-casting. Once dry the forms are fired to 1000ºC and sanded down to 'unearth' the random surface pattern created through the casting process. Fired once more to a higher temperature of 1250ºC to bring out the true colour, they are polished with a diamond pad to give it a marble smooth finish.'' - Sevak Zargarian