Signature style? What signature style? This polymath potter goes for variety

Los Angeles – ‘Many visitors come into the studio asking if this is a collective of sorts, made by multiple people,’ said Bari Ziperstein. ‘But I reassure them that it’s all designed by me.’

Such is the varied portfolio of B Zippy, as she is also known. Since graduating in 2004, the polymath potter has covered most ceramic typologies: jewellery, installation, sculpture, vessels and lighting. She works almost seasonally, like a fashion house. ‘My various interests in forms, silhouettes, narrative and colour theory can’t be accumulated into one piece, so I stretch out by focusing on one or two aspects in each series,’ she added.

The common aspect in all her work is a love of hand building. Her Brutalist totems, which beautifully sit somewhere between the industrial and the ecclesiastical, and her hefty Hex planters are constructed out of hard slabs using templates. The midcentury-ish angular Tube series is made by draping soft slabs of clay over plastic hump moulds she finds at 99-cent discount stores: bowls, cups and plates. Inspiration is as motley as her work: from pre-Columbian pottery to Ken Price to Joshua Tree.

Does she get bored easily? ‘Yes, for sure,’ she laughed. ‘But I think it’s more about enjoying the challenge of change and challenging the viewer’s expectations of my forms.’

This profile is part of New Wave Clay, our book on ceramic design, art and architecture. You can order a copy here.

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