“There are no limitations. There are boundaries, but no limitations [on] how to create your piece.”Ceramics & Glass student
Valerie Bernardini harnesses the translucency and transparency of porcelain and glass to evoke fluidity and motion within her sculptures. These 3D works are complimented by experimental photography, through which she transforms her organic ceramic forms into intriguing, surreal prints.
Valerie trained and worked as a professional photographer living in Paris, Tokyo, Singapore and London. Searching for a new creative outlet away from the computer screen she discovered ceramics and undertook a BTEC at Morley College. This led to her applying for MA Ceramics & Glass at the RCA.
At the RCA the support of tutors and the world class facilities have helped develop Valerie’s practice. In particular, she was encouraged to be more ambitious and see her work on a larger scale. The availability of technical workshops – not only in ceramics and glass, but also photography – have enabled her to work through experimental processes to develop her own unique aesthetic.
Reflecting on this, Valerie observed: “The RCA is a huge place with a lot of different departments. There are no limitations. There are boundaries, but no limitations [on] how to create your piece.”
During her time at the RCA Valerie has experimented and played with materials and processes, such as molten wax poured and dripped into cold water, responding to the results and building these into the aesthetic of her pieces. Through this interactive approach she has learnt how to control the effects, but also embrace imperfections.
Valerie is from Brittany in North West France where she grew up by the sea. She characterises the environment as one of movement. The fluidity of the wind, water and beach are all influences on her work. However, the crux of her practice is about attempting to capture a feeling and translate it into solid matter through a combination of complex organic forms and experimental glazes.
The RCA provided Valerie with an open and supportive environment in which to play. It was also a place where she learnt through collaboration with her peers. Reflecting on the benefits of the diversity of the student body at the RCA, Valerie commented:
“It’s important to collaborate because when we are coming from different backgrounds, different cultures and different generations, we all have our skills, our knowledge, our expertise in something, and it's nice to share.”