Its cultural diversity
Its endless stream of artists
The village-like atmosphere
Its cultural openess
Its affordability (for example its cheap cinema)
caroline - passion for patterns
Caroline has got creativity in her bones.
This gifted artist only started being a professional potter recently but has previously completed works in many different artistic domains.
Co-founder of the studio "Les Potiers du Quartier" with Gaëtan Billault in Montreuil since September 2018, Caroline Sciancalepore has, at last, found her true calling.
With her brand, Studio Scianca, she creates ceramics with ancestral markings. She wants to reinvent tradional methods, innovate and mix techniques, making a bridge between old and new.
She's interested in optical illusions, questions of shape through patterns and markings and the different interpretation each person has of them.
Located at 14 Rue de la République, the studio has several functions: it's her work space, a place where she holds workshops for the public and a shop which sells the creations of the 2 young potters
Conversation with Caroline, a young, dynamic artist looking for meaning through this ancestral art form
"I'd been looking to retrain for a while. When I started out I wanted to work in furnishings, rugs, curtains, cushions, in interior design. But I also wanted to find something in line with my values.
I started pottery classes again and as soon as I was in the first lesson, I knew this was it, it was as clear as day that this is what I should be doing."
DESIGN DESIGN DESIGN
Born in Dreux, she was always a very creative child, always drawing or making things with cardboard or paper.
Between the ages of 11 and 18 she took pottery classes (inspired by the film Ghost!) but didn't think about it as a career.
Admitted into the Fine Arts university in Nantes, she tried her hand at all artistic discipines and did lots of painting.
Interested in industrial design, she created these magnificent podium shoes /sculptures for her final exam, helped by the design studio of car manufacturer Citroën where her dad worked. (She had already done 3 work placements there for 3 summers in the textile design studio)
Following her graduation she wanted to do a textiles course and went to the École Conte in Paris for a year.
Below here, we can see some of her student projects where she questionned the relationship between free-hand drawing and drawing by machine. We can see her passion for patterns starting to grow.
She created paintings with the ink from VHS cassettes and with an electric mixer (she made ties and t-shirts), hand drew lines to mimic machines (such as a lie dectector test) and created optical illusions through her patterns......
Followng this experience she got into the prestigious National Industrial Design School- École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (ENSCI) but only stayed 1 year, it was far too technical and traditional for Caroline, and no where near as creative or experimental as she expected.
At 26 she left the school and wondered what she was gong to do next...
A opportunity came up to go to London and she jumped at the chance. What new adventures would await her in one of the most creative cities in the world?
Caroline on her sculptural podiums made of dense foam and thermoformed PVC with chrome finish (metallic car paint)
Bags packed she crossed the Channel to try her luck in the country of Queen Elizabeth, Yorkshire puddings and rainy days
In London she had a few different jobs but didn't have the great professional experiences she had hoped for
She did an internship at the renowned textile design studio Mirjam Rouden and also worked for Yuyu Bottles but did not enjoy her time there, neither the atmosphere nor the management techniques of her bosses.
She did manage to hold an art exhibition while she was there in the trendy Art Represent gallery in Bethnal Green, where she presented a series of beautiful patterned works.
But after 2 years the adventure came to a close and Caroline came back to Paris. After a very brief experience at Givenchy, she found a job as a textile designer for the famous fashion label Tara Jarmon where she stayed for 2 years
THE RIGHT TRACK
Thanks to something great which exists in France called "Personal Educational Leave" (CIF -Congé Individuel de Formation) which you acquire through hours worked in a full-time paid job, she prepared an application while she was at Tara Jarmon, to go and do a pottery course...and it was accepted!
You train for a new job but you still get full pay as if you were still employed, and the employer cannot refuse it!
The idea came to her as she took up pottery classes again and absolutely fell in love with it.
She had finally found her creative happiness after disappointing experiences in fashion, a world she finds inhumane, difficult to understand, disorganised and with values that she does not adhere to.
So that was it, she'd found her path both artistically and morally.
Her encounter with Gaëtan in the Paris school was decisive for her, together they wanted to open their studio and become professional potters, which is what they did last year.
"With pottery and ceramics, I feel connected to something very deep"
Caroline is developing different collections and is currently working on the notion of "stacking", a fun yet practical way of piling her creations on top of one another to form a decorative structure.
You can stack a salad bowl, a bowl, a cup to create a centrepiece that you display when the items or not in use.
She also wants to include smaller, more affordable pieces too, like her tea filters for 20€ that you can find on my SHOPPING page.
Her exploration with patterns and markings is not just to look pretty. She questions how we perceive shapes thanks to optical illusions and how we each see something different
To create these patterns she uses the technique of Sgraffito , where you use an material called 'engobe" to cover the pot and then scratch in the patterns revealing the layer underneath, a technique which dates from the 14th century.
My personal interpretation of these patterns is that it reminds of a scarification ceremeny in a tribe in Oceania that I saw in the beautiful documentary "The Journey" made by Danish film maker Chistoffer Boe.
"I love being connected to this art form and working with ancestral materials. When I touch the clay or the earth I feel connected to something a lot older than me, like when you garden, something organic and fertile."
CONNECT TO THE PAST TO BE BETTER IN THE FUTURE
She might well be connected to the past, but there's certainly a bright future ahead for Caroline.
Someone with so much talent, so passionate about her art and who respects it as much as she does, can only go from strength to strength, and I hope she does.
Her mastery of several different disciplines will serve her well for her future collections and the derivatives she wants to develop (see painting).
"Pottery brings together everything I love. Volume, patterns and prints, coulour, texture, working with your hands, for me the creative possibilities are endless."