Bianka Groves' work is simple and calm; it is intended to add balance to a fast-paced world. There is a bold contrast between the white of the porcelain and the incised black lines, but her sense of touch is very delicate. Each piece shows Groves’ hand at play. She uses a mishima process, which entails covering the piece in wax, and drawing through it with razors or acupuncture needles to achieve a thin, constant line, painting the carved areas in black glaze and wiping off anything that is not in the lines. This creates a tattoo-like effect on the clay. Her high-fire porcelain wares are polished after firing to create a satiny, soft touch.
How did you get started in ceramics?
Ceramics was first introduced to me in high school. It was a sports dominated school which didn’t suit me. I got into trouble a lot, probably because I was bored and had no outlet. My ceramics teacher would come ‘bail’ me out of in-school-suspension and give me odd jobs to do in the clay room. She took me under her wing and making pots became one of the first aspects of my life that made me feel comfortable in my own skin.
Why are handmade goods important?
To me, the greatest reason handmade goods are important is because of the mindfulness and natural appreciation of life they bring by invoking an awareness of the daily habits of ourselves and those around us.
I pause and admire the mug I drink my coffee from because I can see the maker’s fingerprint imbedded in the clay which she dug, with love and backbreaking hard work, out of the ground. All my dishes are handmade by other potters or glassblowers. Serving guests at my home makes for the best conversations after watching them rifle through the cupboards to choose their dish right down to the hand sewn napkin they use. Everything is done with intent as the handmade brings beauty and gratitude.
How do you define the art/craft conversation for yourself?
How do I define the art vs. craft conversation? I don’t. It’s a dumb argument. Everything is art crafted from something by someone. It’s all subjective by personal aesthetics. Acoustic guitar vs. electric, it’s still music whether you like the song or not.
What is your ideal last meal?
Lobster. Or a nice comforting bowl of soup in front of a campfire.