Inside

Cristina Vezzini

MA Ceramics & Glass, 2011–13

I studied a BA Applied Arts at Rochester in Kent from 2007 to 2010 and took a year out after to work as an intern with the artist and ceramicist, Kate Malone. On my BA, I worked with ceramics, glass and wood, but then ended up specialising more in ceramics.

I’m from Italy, but had been coming here to London in the summer to English courses for one or two weeks. I felt if I really wanted to learn ceramics, then the RCA was the best place, not anywhere in Italy. I knew about the RCA from researching well-known artists – they were all graduates.

While I was working in London, I rented a studio in my year out, working on my ceramics pieces from my BA trying to develop them, and got more into a functional way than a sculptural. But I felt I needed more skill under my belt and more knowledge of the materials. I felt a masters was the best way to learn this.

The first six months of the programme were easier and more relaxed than the latter six months. There were lots of projects in the beginning, from one on the Victoria & Albert Museum collection to help you explore your technique and research the ceramics material to one with Waddeston Manor, where we had to create a product that could be sold as a gift in the shop. After that, I felt like I had to try more to create something new, something that could give me more technique, so it was around February or March, that I felt a bit lost. Sometimes there is so much you can explore – it was hard to come in with a finished piece.

The important thing was to try not to discourage myself, I felt I couldn’t reach anything in this exploration phase. I was exploring materials and techniques, then going back into books, into the library and then going back and making. It began to be about working to the inside out of form. We are always more interested in the inside of things – we are looking more inside our bodies, at what is contained. Working with ceramics and glass, with the glass being transparent, I can work more into the structure on the inside. You can look to the inside of the form. My ceramics form the support. For ceramics, I always use slip casting. I like that I can change the form afterwards slightly. For glass, I have someone that blows for me and I distort the shape.

At the College, it’s important to organise yourself and find the best time to work. It might be better to work early in the morning and then go to the library and research, or then go back to work late afternoon. I always work until late night because it is quiet and I can concentrate much more. When it’s close to deadline, it’s always really busy. There’s so much tension in the place, you need to be focused. You need to book kilns a week in advance, but there’s always room as you can share these.

When I approach my work now, I try to think about what I really want to say with my piece, not just that 'I like this bit here', or 'that bit there'. I try to think about where I want to go in the future. I’m moving more into a design area than sculptural.  

During my year out, I worked seven days a week and saved hard. I was lucky to get a bursary to come here, but I do also still work during term time – one or two days a week for a South London ceramicist. When I finish, I’d like to set up my own studio and produce my own work for a gallery like Adrian Sassoon.

"It’s the malleability and fluidity of the material, the distortion in the kiln and the rich colour of the glazes. I wanted to study glass in the same way – thinking about this fluidity you can have."
Cristina Vezzini
Cristina Vezzini