Karolina Romanowska Embraces the Nature of Clay with Bold, Spirited Masks



Art
Craft

#ceramics
#clay
#Karolina Romanowska
#masks

June 17, 2024

Jackie Andres

All images © Karolina Romanowska, shared with permission

How do you know when your artwork is finished? Do you step back and take a few deep breaths as you listen to your intuition? Or do you keep going, focusing on the smallest of details, and apply the law of diminishing returns? Belaboring whether a work is “complete” is common for creatives, and Karolina Romanowska believes working in ceramics has helped her overcome this inward block.

“Clay moves with the maker. It’s alive and it has a spirit of its own,” says the Madison-based artist. “It’s a constant dance that demands discipline, and the nature of the material forces me to be finished. Once the piece comes out of the bisque fire, I can no longer change its structure. I have to accept it, nurture it, and decorate it one color and texture at a time.” Romanowska adorns each of her masks with a multitude of patterns and raised surfaces in vivid hues that coat distinct features such as curved horns, copious eyes, rosy cheeks, and protruding tongues. Their faces evoke a range of expressions from fear and trepidation to contentment and jubilation.

By focusing heavily on the beauty of the making process and the integrity of clay, the artist explains, “It’s not really about the work but about the few days I have with the material, where I get to imprint myself onto it and then let go.” Cultivating a healthy relationship with her artistic practice has catapulted her into a place where she can produce more and more iterations, rather than feeling stuck. Romanowska views the creation of more work as an opportunity to create more chances to succeed and fail.

The artist fondly shared that her next big project will be the birth of her second child. Though Romanowska is yet to know what type of work she will be producing in due time, you can find more on her website and Instagram.

 

a hand holds up a ceramic mask with distinct features such as horns, multiple eyes, a tongue sticking out, patterned and textured complexions in colorful tones.

a ceramic mask with distinct features such as horns, multiple eyes, patterned and textured complexions in colorful tones.

a ceramic mask with distinct features such as horns, multiple eyes, a tongue sticking out, patterned and textured complexions in colorful tones.

a hand holds up a ceramic mask with distinct features such as horns, multiple eyes, patterned and textured complexions in colorful tones.

a hand holds up a ceramic mask with distinct features such as horns, multiple eyes, patterned and textured complexions in colorful tones.

a figure holds up a ceramic mask with distinct features such as horns, multiple eyes, a tongue sticking out, patterned and textured complexions in colorful tones.

#ceramics
#clay
#Karolina Romanowska
#masks

 

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