Sometimes the word “handmade” evokes images of organic forms and imperfections, however at Pawena Studio, “handmade” is no such thing. Bold, graphic forms grace minimalist cylindrical ceramics as if the handmade mimics digital prints. The attention to detail and perfection reminisces back to the old days before computers, where graphics were hand-drawn. Pawena Thimaporn, wheel throws, and hand paints every single piece with a precision. Yet, she leaves traces of imperfections like brush strokes or an ever so slight curvature of a cylinder. These imperfections remind you that the ceramic piece was indeed made by hand. Not machined and printed like so much of what you see on today’s market.
“I like that emptiness that you have in nature, but [I do] not like to show it literally, I like to interpret abstract graphical way.”
Pawena Thimaporn was born in Thailand and grew up on her parent’s plantation. Without modern conveniences, she played outside in the forests and nature around. She made her own toys to play with which gave her the confidence to make things with her own hands. Upon choosing a college, Pawena saw the ceramics at KMITL in Bangkok and decided to major in Industrial Design and Ceramics. After graduating, she went to the United States to study Graphic Design at Art Center, Pasadena. There she was exposed to a multitude of talented people whose work was very different from her native Thailand.
She then worked for 15 years at Nokia as a visual designer. Feeling like she wanted to get back into ceramics to feel the sense of finishing a project, she took a class and fell back in love with the craft. Three years ago, the company closed their offices and Pawena decided that it was as good a time as any to try out Ceramics professionally, so she founded Pawena Studio.
Pawena’s creative process is rooted in her design training. As shapes and images appear in her head she gets them down on paper in a sketchbook. However, when it comes to drawing on the curved surface of pottery, her drawing takes a different form. It’s more intuitive. Like her upbringing, Pawena looks to nature for inspiration. She regularly goes on hikes with her two boys and loves the quiet of horizon. “I like that emptiness that you have in nature, but [I do] not like to show it literally, I like to interpret abstract graphical way.” You’ll see in her work the minimalist compositions, lots of curves and horizons which are soothing to the eye.