But I have clay!
When one door closes, the other door opens.
My journey from a corporate career to becoming a potter.
From building a corporate career to becoming a potter
How does happiness look like: Me, on my first time behind the potters’s wheel at 2018
Hi, it’s nice to see you here !
My name is Kristjan Klementi.
I live in Estonia, in Tallinn, a small country at the shores of Baltic Sea, where I make fine ceramics in my tiny home studio.
My journey to ceramics began in 2018 when I had a desire to take some ceramics classes during the summer holiday, instead of the classes I rented a potter’s wheel and bought thirty kilos of clay, set up the wheel in my garden and made my first attempts to throw something. Naturally, nothing worked out for the beginning, but it was learning and trying that eventually made the thing. By the end of summer, I had quite many bowls, vases and mugs thrown so I could take the Christmas gifts from my own makings. I had to return the wheel after 6 weeks of throwing. But that 6 weeks took my hand and my heart.
Next year I planned to do the same again, instead of renting the wheel I decided to buy the potter’s wheel. By the end of the year, I also received my own kiln so I could fire my makings on my own. Ever since I have made countless number of vessels.
Then came covid and we all needed a place to work from home offices. I made some rework in my garage and this became my office and my studio – with a potter’s wheel and kiln in one corner and my working table at the other corner.
I have not studied art or ceramics. I do not have any art school diplomas, what I have learned is all by making and studying the result and with each vessel I make I have learned how to make them even better.
My education was electronics, but that was at the beginning of 90’s, so you can imagine how much this area has developed over time.
Last 25 years I have been working in area of Supply Chain and Logistics, working in big international corporations in almost all various position of Supply Chain. My last job in this was regional logistics manager taking care of Finland and Baltics logistics in a food and beverage company. Things happen, and when being a middle manager you are always a subject for organization changes. This happened to me as well, when in spring 2022 together with a merge of or regional responsibilities my role became redundant.
When one door closes the other opens. Sometimes life opportunities open with events that are not so pleasant. I revised what is important for me, as well what I want to do. My heart is with making things with my hands. I love this what I do and put my heart and passion into it. This is where I store energy, and this is where I draw it from.
This shortly has been my path, from career in international corporation to a maker of handmade ceramics in a tiny home studio. Perhaps, I just need more space for my studio.
The value of handmade
Before industrial revolution hands were the ones making everything we needed in our lives. While factories can make a lot of cheap things then hands of a master are the only ones that can add love, care, attention and mastery to the work they make and there is always art in crafting a fine ceramic vessel.
My first ceramic jar
In 2009 we celebrated our daughter’s birthday in a ceramics workshop, we all made our hands dirty with clay and hand built what our imagination described, and hands were able to do.
My first ever ceramic jar was made there, and it still stands in an honorable position on my studio shelve. I think this is the time I got “infected”.
Latest blog writings
How the ice crackle treasure box is born
I’ve made a video how those treasure boxes with ice crackle glaze start their journey from a lump of clay into a final functional form.
VIDEO: How to brush glaze a bowl
Brushing glaze I have learned a trick – I use potter’s wheel to spin the bowl, a cheap large enough slip trailer to feed the brush with glaze and a fan brush to give an even finish.
Art created by the heat of the kiln
Not all is visible to our naked eye. There is totally another world when looking close to the things we can hold in our hands.
Not all comes out of kiln in one piece
This snowflake glazed (or ice crackle glazed) platter did not come out from the kiln in one piece. And honestly, I am happy it did not withstand the firing, it gave me another opportunity.
Tools of the trade
The main tools in the middle - those I carry with me always, wherever I go those come with me. Those do the main job and the rest just help them out – my two hands.
Honeypot from semi porcelain
Some say that potters are most unhappy people because they fail to get the expected results so often. I say potters are happiest people because every making and firing is full of surprises to be glad of.
Black stoneware vases with white contrast
Sometimes, instead of a jar I throw a vase as a warmup, and sometimes I make vases also deliberately, throw they are not my everyday forms to make.
Video: Final tuning of the lidded jar
I often say that lid and the body of a ceramic jar need to sing together. Every lid as its own tone what they make. In this 6-minute video I show how I make the final tuning to my lidded jars.
Black stoneware jars with white torn texture
The look resembles a tree trunk or a dried earth, which it actually is. The effect is achieved with drying the outside of the body rapidly with a help of sodium silicate and a torch. Made from the Spanish black stoneware clay and the texture is filled with white engobe
Web page has hatched
It has been a lot of screen hours behind the computer developing the web page and reflecting on my work and values. Finally I can open my new home for my ceramics and handcraft