Pierre Bounaud | Episode 353
Pierre Bounaud is a French ceramic artist who made his home in San Diego, California. Pierre’s ceramic work reflects his training as a chemist, fearlessly pushing the limits of glaze-dom and experimenting with a variety of techniques to create unique contrasting surface decorations. His current work includes colorful saggar-fired vessels, crystalline glaze wall plates, and his White Crackle series of functional and decorative wares.
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Instagram question : Summarize your work in four words.
That is tough because my work is always changing. And the reason it is always changing is I am always testing things, so I am going from one thing to another and another. My work is, I guess, experimental, sometimes. I try to have contrast. I love having contrast between matte and sheen. So I always try to incorporate contrast in one way or another. So that is two down (experimental and contrast). I like texture as well. The fourth word would be abstract. I am not very figurative. My work is more abstract with more simple lines.
Instagram question: Is a jigger considered handmade to you? I guess it would be the same for a press mold or a hump mold or casting. All those extra tools, do you consider those to be handmade?
I do consider them handmade. I look at, especially the jigger form. It’s a tool. If you think about it, when you use your tool to shape the inside or outside of a bowl, it’s kind of jigger but you are just holding it. With the press mold you are getting into the more industrial part of the business. Even though the mold itself has to be handmade, I assume…I don’t know about the press mold. But definitely the jigger form, yes.
How do you deepen your knowledge about ceramics?
I read ceramic books and going to workshops really, and asking questions. Talking to people at workshops. Learning what they do and how they do it. And reading, there are so many good books. We are really lucky that people in the ceramic world are publishing and publishers are letting those books out.
How important is community for the ceramic artist?
Very important. It is all about that sharing. So there is a lot of information that can get lost and having that community, you can share that information. It goes back to that idea of writing those books, then you get the information in writing. So community is important for the sharing of ideas. It seems since social media has become popular the ceramics community has exploded.
When you are making, what is the biggest influence, the market or your muse?
Both. For example, if you go to my website or Instagram you will see a lot of work with that white crackle glaze over black. And that is something I sell a lot. It is something that is uncommon for the market, at least here in San Diego. I sell a lot of it, but I go in cycles where I make it because I know it’s going to sell and I try to make pieces that are sellable. They are little more on the functional side or at price points that are kept low so I can reach more people that way. But in the studio I do so many other things that people don’t know about, where the muse takes over. I do low-fire work that is very colorful. People are not really exposed to that, but that is for me. That is the art part. Once in awhile I show that work, but not always.
What is the biggest technical question you have overcome in building your business/practice? What is your biggest technical challenge?
Making a website. I built my own website, so I had to learn how to do it. I use WordPress. The first few tries were nice but I got more proficient at it. That is non-ceramic related but it is very important for your business.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
As far as ceramic work I think I wish I knew how to set up a studio. It wouldn’t have taken me so long to get my studio set up. It was really a process.