Can porcelain creations be vibrant, delicate and moving? Nathalie Khayat reveals the infinite possibilities hold by this technique.
How did you discover ceramics?
Nathalie Khayat: The fortunes of life! I attended to a class in Montreal, where I discovered the pleasure of working the clay on a wheel. It was almost twenty years ago. I immediately felt in love with this material, it really triggered something in my imagination. In 1999, I opened my studio in Beirut where I still work and teach. I started creating small pieces that were both functional and structural, such as crockery, bowls, plates…
Why did you choose to work on porcelain?
Nathalie Khayat: I love the whiteness of non enameled porcelain, its “nudity”. Ten years ago, I turned to biggest, asymmetric formats, constantly exploring the limits of the fragility of porcelain that is very demanding in terms of thinness. I produce “fragile”, almost transparent pieces that seem to be on the verge of collapsing. Many of my drafts burst inside the oven, before I get to the final result. Porcelain inspires me in very different ways, according to gravity, sound and texture. All my creations aim to express a movement, a feeling.
What’s the story behind the title of your exhibition, “Seeds”?
Nathalie Khayat: In times of pessimism, I felt the need to return to essentials and to reconnect to nature. I started researches around seeds, a symbol of promises. I look at them through a magnifying glass. The seeds allow me to improvise freely. Always present, yet almost invisible, they are the source, the carrier, they use the elements to germinate and grow.
interview: Florence Thireau
“Seeds” BAC Design Beirut Art Centre (70 26 21 12) June 15 – July 16 Monday – Friday 12pm – 8 pm
This article was published in Time Out Beirut, July issue.