Brutal. went to meet the ceramist Catherine Dix Ceramics in her studio in Montreuil. Recently, Catherine moved a few meters away to a slightly larger workshop. Let's discover his universe through an interview.
What is your background and your training to get to ceramics?
I discovered clay with Marcel Muller at the Poterie de Lucante in Aveyron. I spent 2 magical months in his hamlet discovering the different practices related to the pottery profession. I was grabbed by the earth and bewitched by the work on the lathe. I continued my training with Thierry Fouquet at Atelier Chemins de Terre in Montreuil, in leisure at first then in CAP turner training.I then spent 4 months with Augusto Tozzola to learn a completely different filming technique.In ceramics, we never stop learning, and I intend to continue to discover techniques that can make me evolve in my work, firing in a wood oven and anagama (large Japanese oven), shaping with a pinched pot, artisanal preparation clay, etc.
Yes ! It's a little clumsy bowl, shaped on a lathe, too thick and badly turned. It is white and has been baked with the Raku technique, so it has very beautiful black weavings. Despite the glaring lack of technique, it was done with great determination and that makes it beautiful. I kept it of course! We always have tenderness for our very first pieces, it is imperative to keep a few.
A balancing act of an architect!
What is your creative and manufacturing process?
I work on instinct, I don't make preparatory drawings. After having shaped the different elements of my bottles (body, feet, necks), I move on to assembly, seeking the balance that seems to me the fairest. I finish by fitting the handle which will definitely give the piece its identity.
What is your favorite technique? Your favorite moment in the process?
Putting on the handle because it's the moment when I feel like I'm “getting to know” my bottle. She brings her own personality which will make her a unique piece.
What is your favorite material? What do you like about him?
I have two. They are two completely different sandstones from each other but with a "strong personality". A brown sandstone which gives a primitive aspect to my bottles and on which the glazes are always sublime and a white sandstone extremely chamotte to the point that it is sometimes painful to work in. It looks like mortar and gives a rough character to my work.
What are your inspirations and what inspires you outside of ceramics?
I find my inspirations in architecture and in everything that is architectural in general, but also in primitive pottery. I like the simplicity and strength of certain old ceramics whether they come from Asia, Latin America or the French countryside. I'm not into frills or things that are too cluttered. I prefer when everything is said with very little means.Apart from ceramics, I am drawn to wood, plaster, anything that can be worked in volume, but also to engraving, which I would like to learn.
Can you tell us about one or more books on ceramics or something else?
Like many ceramists, I started with "The Potter's Book" by Bernard Leach. When I started filming, I bought John Colbeck's “Shooting Technique” which is very good to accompany his training on the lathe. And then it is imperative to have “Practice of sandstone enamels” by Daniel de Montmollin if you work with this clay. Books are my indulgence, I have a lot of them on sculpture, on architecture, on Art in general.
What are your last significant trips or your travel desires?
I went to Bali 2 years ago, a sublime place and the Balinese are probably the most adorable and smiling people I have ever met. I would like to go to India and Scotland but my ultimate travel dream remains Japan where I would like to spend several months with a master potter.