Designers on your doorstep

Maya Grkow

Pāua is a sculptural work that dwells on my connection with the ocean and family. This project displays the themes of connection and home through hand-built clay sculptures, showcasing my homeland New Zealand. Using clay, I hand-built these works into organic and deformed objects, allowing the material to decide its course before adding the textural divots. I then smoothed the works until the surface of each piece was pure white, reflecting the movement and patterns of the ocean. Sitting there on the mantelpiece like the shells on my bedroom window, the ocean brings fond memories of my hometown Wellington where I used to collect seashells by the shore. It is also reflective of my opening journey as a swimmer and future swimming instructor. Fond memories of spending Christmas holidays with my family by the beach, and weekends walking down Oriental Parade, have been embodied into the clay sculptures. Showing the bond I have with my family and New Zealand through their obscure sea-like shapes, which connect like oceanic puzzle pieces. Inspired by the seascapes in New Zealand, I have created clay sculptures that draw on elements of nature to showcase my heritage and childhood memories.

IMAGE > Maya Grkow, <em>Pāua</em>, 2021, stoneware and midfire clay, 12 x 10 x 6 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.
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For many artists and designers, the lockdown has had a significant alteration to the way we see life. I am a conceptual artist, and use ideas, emotions and life events in my work. That year in lockdown a lot of the works I made were due to these changes in our life cycles, the environment, as well as the mixture of emotions that comes with it. But lockdown also made me more appreciative towards the small things in life such as natural formations, shapes, patterns and colours in nature.

I tend to try and look at things with a positive light, so for me, the lockdown was very beneficial. It gave me time to reflect, relax and grow, as I started to look back towards the past (my heritage, using every day materials) and then growing further from that. In a way, my art practise didn't alter, but it re-visited a practise from the past and grew beyond what it had been. That year made me re-discover myself as an artist as I was no longer afraid to take a risk.

I tend to try and look at things with a positive light, so for me, the lockdown was very beneficial.

For those that often see my Instagram stories, you would probably know I am extremely obsessed with plants, nature and seasonal changes. It's not really a man-made design but a natural formation that comes in many different shapes, sizes and patterns. I have a habit of observing the plants and seasonal changes in my neighbourhood through the pictures I take. Especially since I walk the same path each time, these changes are very noticeable for me.

This may sound a bit strange, but I have always had a secret obsession with the hallway, which is situated between my room and the lounge. The hallway has a glass panel instead of the usual brick wall, making it possible to look out onto the kitchen, living room and most importantly the garden. When I first moved in, I always loved the way it made me feel like a spy when walking through it as I could see everything. Now it slightly irritates me as there's nowhere to hide.

My favourite design objects in the house are the windows and garden! My house is built in an L shape and has window panels on all the walls that are facing the deck and garden. It's honestly not even a wall but a sheet of glass, which I can look out through. I love to sit at my desk and watch nature's shapes, forms and colours change as the seasons fly by. Because of this I feel very tuned into nature and earth.

I love making Buddha bowls because they look like a piece of art on a plate, haha. I am very lucky to have a mum who is a baker/cook (Polish Treats), so I don't cook often as she makes such amazing food. But in all honesty, it's difficult to even get in the kitchen in the first place, as my mum is always cooking.

IMAGES [Top to bottom] > All images courtesy of the artist. Recipe image source: unsplash.

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Designers on your doorstep

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