Ash-coated Escudella, handmade in Mallorca
|Ibiza||Stoneware and grog||3 days|
Escudelles are traditional Majorcan bowls, some of which date back to the Al-Andalus period (XIII century). They are mainly used for cooking and serving but have also been known to be employed in Baptism ceremonies.
Joan Pere has re-invented the ‘escudelles’ making use of materials around him. He substitutes clay for ceramic and grog and moves away from traditional red tones to present them with an ash and pinewood varnish.
The difference between these and other pieces is that they are heated in a gas oven to maintain a more uniform, lighter tone.
If you look closely and carefully at them you can see specks of ash coating the design creating an appearance of floral bloom. Also notice the way the handles have been moulded with a seashell and the occasional fleck of cobalt which sneaked into the design during those 36 hours of baking time.
Joan Pere inherited the trade of potter from his mother. Inspired by Japanese philosophy he decided to add a more artistic aspect to his work whilst still using practical ceramic. "I don’t think it is necessary to create specific exhibition pieces to determine art. Art can be present in everyday objects."
When he arrived at the Majorca School of Ceramics he became fascinated by fire and started to sell his old records to buy an Anagama, a Japanese kiln (pottery oven) which enables a flame to strike directly on the piece being heated.
He enjoys working with a potter’s foot wheel because as he has to co-ordinate his hands and feet, his pieces become marked and he believes this makes them "more human". He goes to great lengths to steer away from perfection and symmetry.
For the Anagama kiln he utilizes more than a ton and a half of pinewood for fuel. Pinewood is readily available in Mallorca and thanks to its resinous nature, ideal for combustion. Heating times vary between 20 and 24 hours and can reach temperatures of 1.300º C.
Each batch produces between 80 to 100 pieces. Their originally white paste comprised of sandstone and grog adopts an irregular russet off- brown tone. As the baking period is so long, the ash melts away and disperses varnishing and waterproofing them. Joan Pere sometimes jumbles up the way they are laid out and puts other elements such as seashells among them giving them an unpredictable and unexpected finish. "I actively seek out the accident because it tells me something different about each piece."
Joan Pere likes to think that his pieces can be enjoyed with our simple daily pleasures. "A few months ago a young couple bought two of my breakfast bowls. Each one cost 50 euros. They came to pick them up in an old run-down car and I was aware that it was a lot of money to them. The fact is they wanted to celebrate breakfast together everyday and that, I just thought, was so lovely."
Encuentra aquí la historia en español.