Julianne Ahn, founder of the ceramics and jewellery studio Object & Totem, is a designer who has experimented with many forms: some of her work, like her necklaces and ceramic containers, has function, while some of it is pure art.
“Sometimes I love making pieces that give the viewer the choice about what to do with them,” she says. “The context is completely up to the individual.” Trained in fine art and textiles, Julianne first approached ceramics as a contemplative hobby, and found that it stuck. Her approach is still thoughtful and unrushed: “I joke with my friends that I’m like kobe beef – I need to be taken care of when I’m making things. It just keeps the quality high.”
Much of Julianne’s inspiration comes from folk art – and she also finds creative fuel in the architecture around her. “The wonderful thing about having lived in Philadelphia, Berlin and Brooklyn is that you get a lot of textural forms and surfaces that are really beautiful,” she says.
“It’s really hard to make something look very natural,” she says of the faceted rocks. “It should be very intuitive, but there’s also this precision to it – I really want to try and emulate something that looks like it came out of the earth.”
Her Ripple Rock Container, dotted with marbled stoneware pebbles, is inspired by a zen garden. She hand-wedges two coloured clays to create the marbled effect
“I still feel like I’m in a continuous state of evolving with the medium of ceramics, but I started doing it because it is a meditative practice.”Julianne Ahn