CURATE // Eliana Bernard Lace Collection

Sometimes when you're looking for something marvelous, you needn't look far. It's with that spirit in mind that we found our neighbor, ceramicist Eliana Bernard. This fellow Canopy dweller just launched her new Golden Lace collection, an array of delicate porcelain objects adorned with intricate gilded filigree. Working out out of Austin-based artist Keith Kreeger's studio, she's spent many late nights building her new (and stunning) collection. I stopped by one evening to take a peek at the new pieces before the official launch, and ask her about her work and upcoming events. 

Like many admirers of ceramic art, I know little about how these pieces actually come to life. I think one of the first things I asked Eliana was, well, "How... how do you do it?"

Her reply: "In my work I use mold making, slip casting and slip trailing. I start off by making a plaster mold of a form that I like and then I cast it in slip, liquid clay. Once the piece is cast, I cut away sections of the clay and add slip to create the intricate lace pattern. After glaze firing the pieces, I carefully brush gold luster into the little holes of the lace pattern and fire it again to add a touch of gold."

As she walked me through her process, I was surprised at how many steps it takes to take a single piece from a sketch to a finished object. With all the alternating cycles of drying, firing, and waiting, the process can take days, or even weeks. This makes it all the more remarkable how much thought goes into developing each item.

Although the pieces have an effortless, organic quality, each element has been finely tuned, from determining the ideal dimensions of a jewelry dish to choosing a precise shade of teal. You wouldn't necessarily know by looking at the finished pieces, but this new collection is Eliana's first foray into color. Behind the scenes, her catalogued bowls from color tests spark intrigue.
Shades of blue that didn't make the cut
Eliana's signature ceramic lace effect is also the product of meticulous work. She's been practicing the process for a couple years now, destroying more than a piece or two in the process. Patience and knowing when to let go are keys to success when it comes to working with such fragile materials. 

And yet, as Eliana pointed out, once a piece is fired, it becomes surprisingly durable.
The glossy surface can stand up to daily wear and tear, and they're even safe to eat off of. (Just don't try to slurp soup from the rim.)

Their beauty and practicality make these ideal for home use or gifting. Eliana's best selling piece--the small dish--could very easily become a staple on your vanity. Check out the whole collection here, and read on for some interview questions with the artist!
Photo via elianabernard.com

Where do you seek inspiration? 
I look for inspiration everywhere. Sometimes it’s from an image of an interior, a space, a pattern or texture, and other days, its light flickering through the leaves in a tree or a crack in the ground.

What drew you to ceramics? Do you work in other materials as well?  
My love for the material. I started working with clay in college when I took a ceramics course as a studio art major. Between ceramics classes and internships with ceramic artists, clay became a part of my every day and has been ever since.
Photo via elianabernard.com

Do you listen to music while you work? What's on your studio playlist? 
Yes, I love listening to music while I work. Putting on music is the first thing I do when I walk into the studio. I’m usually listening to soft singer-songwriter stations on Pandora. My top musicians to listen to: Gregory Alan Isakov, Damien Rice and Joshua Radin. When I want to change it up, I’ll listen to audio books. Currently listening to The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, my favorite author.

What's the best advice you've gotten when it comes to making art, or being an artist?
To always have something else that I’m working on outside of whatever I’m currently making as an artist. I spend a lot of my time focusing on one collection, from a sketch to an actual object and then refining it until it’s ready to send out into the world. Making other pieces outside of the current body of work, keeps the creativity flowing and allows me to experiment with new ideas that often influence a new collection.

The Gold Lace Collection is available online at Elianabernard.com. You can also see pieces from the collection in person at the Ladybird Market this Saturday, March 14th from 10am-5pm at Cherrywood Coffeehouse.

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