Giardino di Magique is a testament to artistry and handmade craftsmanship where no two plates are the same; each piece carries the individual touch by artist Elise of Di Lunedi that we adore. Photography by Paloma Saint Léger.
Meet the Artist
I am Elise, the creator of di Lunedi, where I make ceramic pieces inspired by my travels and Italian aesthetics.
Can you tell us about your inspiration and creative process behind the Giardino di Magique collection?
Traveling through Italy is a constant source of inspiration for me. But it’s when I stop and stay in one place that I feel the most creative. Filicudi was a magique place to take in all the small details and the beauty of everyday routines. All the textures and colours were amplified, allowing space for inspiration. Each piece was informed by the surroundings, the Italian materials I had brought with me and traditional techniques. The challenges of creating in far flung places and the connections that are made because of a mutual love of clay all combine to give each piece its own story.
How did the island influence the collection?
There’s a sense of space everywhere you go on Filicudi. The wide expanses of the sea constantly changing colour or the winding rocky pathways lined with wild fig trees you can pick along the way. The whole island felt like a Giardino di Magique with wild flowers and ancient palms silhouetted against the intense blues of the sea.
Tell us about your creative process.
Ceramics is definitely not the easiest art medium to travel with however it does keep things interesting. Finding a kiln for firing was probably one of the biggest challenges. However I was able to find a studio in Palermo, Studio Mud, who were completely amazing and went out of their way to help. I was then able to bring clay from Palermo and create my own studio space with the most spectacular view of the port of Filicudi.
For Giardino di Magique I took advantage of the beautiful earthy tones of the Italian clay, making it central to the designs. Rather than glazes I used engobbi (similar to clay slip) as a base to add texture and layer under pigment illustration. I find it has a depth & warmth that really enhances the natural clay body. I hand mixed pigments and used them to layer over the top along with small amounts of Italian ramina (traditional Italian green). On selected pieces I also used sgraffito, using a tool to cut into the clay and pigments to emphasize the design. I wanted each piece to have a fluidity in the brushstrokes and design. Like any garden, a sense of movement…
Were there any particular stories or experiences from your time Filicudi that stand out as especially meaningful or memorable in relation to the collection?
Mostly it was the small details… picking figs and blackberries along the old paths, going for coffee and brioche at La Sirena and wondering back up the very steep hill, opening the beautiful little fish gate (which inspired the Porta Fortuna piece) and settling in to creating while always getting distracted by the spectacular view.
Can you elaborate on any unique aspects or features of the plates that make them representative of your personal artistic style and vision?
I’m always searching for a particular aesthetic. Something that feels aged and has its own narrative. I find the materials I source in Italy have a depth and intensity that create this. For this collection I was excited to finally use a lead free Italian ramina, which I’ve previously been unable to find. Also the Engobbi have a beautiful consistency that adds texture, not to mention the Italian terracotta clay.
What significance does the collection hold in your artistic journey?
I had long thought that the creation of a collection while in Italy would open so many creative possibilities. The access to traditional clays and materials as well as the opportunity to be inspired by the surroundings, facilitate a different narrative for each piece & the collection as a whole.
Certain places for me are like a beautiful book. That even when you’ve closed the pages you continue to see your surroundings through widened eyes and heightened senses. I love that each piece is of a moment and place & wholey unique and would love to continue creating in this way.
What does magique mean to you personally, and as an artist?
Magique is in the details. It’s both my emotional state of being and the people and places that inspire me the most. It’s the quiet time in the morning with a coffee in hand watching the sun come up or the opening of a kiln firing to see the alchemy of transformed pieces into something beyond your control.