ccbc artist interview with coral patola

ccbc artist interview with coral patola

Could you tell us briefly what you make? 

I am a ceramics artist working predominantly in utilitarian pottery and sculpture. All of my work is hand thrown on the wheel and I use carving and slip trailing techniques for most of my decoration. I like simple forms with intricate details. I work in a home studio using stoneware clays and electric oxidation firing methods. I’ve recently been able to explore more gas firing with salt and soda and wood firings and I hope to pursue more of these methods in the coming years.

hand made clay

What inspired you to make your pieces, or how, conceptually, did your work come to be?

I’m continually inspired by women’s spaces and looking at women's work for patterns, motifs and layers of visual language. My style for decoration draws from textiles, and the crafts that represent family life. Using these patterns and imagery as a layer of visual language prompts us to question what we value as inherently feminine work. Throughout my life I have found that household objects are the items that carry our family stories and histories. I crave to make pieces that can be imbued with connections and sentiment, curating our own collection of heirlooms.

Why do you make craft?

Ever since I was a child there hasn’t been a time when I’m not pursuing a creative outlet. Visual arts have always been part of how I express myself, from painting, to textiles, to collage and printmaking, working with my hands has always been part of how I process my inner and outer world. Clay and the process of ceramics is a medium I have practiced for over a decade and with that there has come an intimate understanding of how it behaves. While techniques have evolved there is a rudimentary nature to clay that the fundamental process has stayed the same.

The physicality of the material really connects me to it and the long history of people who have also worked in this medium. I find this exploration and continuation of this traditional medium so meaningful and exciting.

Has your work evolved over time, if so, what has that looked like?

My work has continually ebbed and flowed between highly decorative and really paired down. I’m continually trying to work between wanting to decorate and add lots of visual interest and wanting to make simple and clean forms finished with a single glaze. I find both extremes very fun and challenging. I usually find an in between place for the pieces I bring into production while my one of a kind sculpture I pour lots of detail into. Similarly, I am also pulled in two directions whether its wanting to make utilitarian pots or purely sculptural objects. I find I need to experiment in both ways to feel balanced and excited in pursuing this craft.


Are there ideas, values, beliefs, or concepts that your work communicates? Could you tell us a bit more about that? 

I use my craft as a way to explore my own sense of identity and question my own beliefs as well as our culture’s values. In the quest to create these contemporary heirlooms I am also using my work to ask questions around who creates legacy, and how can we subvert the binary assumptions of family and relationship structures to allow for broader expressions of caregiving?

My work is driven by the desire to find a sense of self and agency.

What would you say to emerging or young craft artists?

If your work and practice bring you joy or passion or just an emotional reaction, keep going. Ultimately what you make and why you do so is entirely up to you. With the pressures of social media and the desire to make monetary gains I think we tend to lose sight of the innate reasons creatives are drawn to making. I know I have lost my passion in the past and coming back to my practice with the purpose of just making something purely for myself has helped me find joy and freedom in my craft again.




Images in order of appearance

Coral Patola
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Our intention with this series is for readers to connect with the incredible artists in our space, consider craft through the lens of an artist and encourage people in their own journey with craft. The CCBC’s Artist Interview Series is published on the 15th of each month. 

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