Talia James creates contemporary ceramics that look like they were uncovered in an archaeological dig in ancient Mesopotamia. They are influenced both by the wabi-sabi simplicity of the pottery made in Mashiko, the town in Japan where James trained as a ceramicist, and the artwork and culture of Morocco, where she traces her heritage. Made from a thick, sticky clay that turns black when it is fired in a kiln, the ceramics celebrate both the textures of the natural world and the marks left by James' hand. "I love researching antique artworks, vases, and sculptures," she says. "I like to then interpret [them] in a modern way with a focus on stepping away from factory perfect mass production."
The ceramics, which reference everything from lizard scales to the Kaab el Ghazal (Moroccan gazelle cookies) baked by her mother, are glazed with patterns designed by James that, in their simplicity, resemble the cave drawings of ancient humans.
James, based in London, spent ten years designing textiles for brands such as Ted Baker before devoting herself full-time to her practice. Her genius with pattern and her deep understanding of ancient processes and forms make for unique, one-of-a-kind ceramics that, while functional, are ultimately usable sculptures.