About Desa

After working for many years as an art historian and writer, I retrained as a product designer and when I came across clay, it was love at first touch. In recent years I have made functional pots and groups of vessels in porcelain. In my work I combine my knowledge of design and the visual arts with the practice of making ceramics.

Clay is one of the most versatile materials. It takes us back to the beginnings of human history and at the time to some of the most advanced contemporary technologies. Like metals, clays come from the earth; they have a geological and an historical age. I am particularly interested in the intersection of the history of ceramics with the history of writing. The first surviving written records are imprints on clay tablets – the materially concrete gesture referring to a symbolic dimension beyond the materials at hand. From these earliest days onwards, different cultures have developed traditions of writing and calligraphy on ceramic surfaces.

All my pots are made of porcelain, thrown on the wheel and fired to cone 9 in an oxidizing atmosphere. Alongside the work on writing (Alphabet Series, Line Series), I have experimented with on-glaze decoration using wire of metals such as steel and tungsten. These pots are often made as individual pieces or in groups of two or three.

The tableware is based on simple shapes, which are manipulated on the wheel while the clay is still wet. Emphasis is on fluidity, form and volume. The matte zinc glaze develops white micro crystals giving extra depth to the surface.

Desa Philippi

Desa Philippi