Morandi’s still-life scenes become three-dimensional via paper-thin ceramics

Porcia Pordenone, Italy – To look at, Paola Paronetto’s works appear weighty, sculptural and solid. To the touch, though, they are fine, delicate and paper-thin; they ring like tin if you that them and are incredibly light.

This fine balance of the paper clay series has been developed over many years. ‘It is the result of my wish to go beyond old schemes and commonplaces in the field of pottery techniques,’ she explained.

As a collection, they are Giorgio Morandi-esque still-life landscapes. They may be bottle-shaped, but they are largely sculptural pieces of design. They may be made of clay, but they are paper thin. And, while her works might on the surface be seen as investigations into technique, Paronetto is equally fascinated with colour and decoration. ‘Colour wraps my pieces and creates and interrelation between them,’ she said. ‘I’m definitely inspired by nature and the continuous change of its colours throughout the season.’

Paronetto first constructs the structures out of cardboard and then drenches them in a specially-made slip mixture, made up of watered-down clay and processed cellulose fibre pulp. The paper component usually makes up 30 per cent of the overall matter. The piece is then fired to a temperature of 1,100 Celsius degrees, so that the paper burns away, leaving the structure solidified. A third of the structure has disappeared, hence its lightweight appeal.

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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