Name to know: Kana London

Ana Kerin handbuilds her tactile ceramics for restaurants and renowned chefs around the globe

Ana Kerin, aka Kana, in her studio
Ana Kerin

Ana Kerin founded her business in 2012 in north London, handbuilding her tactile ceramics in order to leave traces of the maker – and now her unique pieces are used by restaurants and renowned chefs around the globe. We visit her studio.

Tell me about your work... Kana London was born out of my fine art practice – I was exploring the concept of form and function and blurred the line from sculpture into more purposeful ceramics, such as cups and bowls. I love the idea of functional art; pieces that elevate everyday experiences.

How would you describe your style? Minimal and modern, as well as raw, tactile and rustic. Close to art, it can inhabit any space – I can see it in a Pierre Yovanovitch interior, a Brutalist space or a rural environment.

Kana Living tableware
Kana Living

What inspires you? So many different artists – Medardo Rosso, Louise Bourgeois, Constantin Brâncuși, Richard Serra, Franz Kline, Anselm Kiefer, Sigmar Polke, Olafur Eliasson, Mark Rothko, Jenny Saville...

‘HANDBUILDING ALLOWS MORE FREEDOM – I LIKE HOW EACH PIECE CREATED IS COMPLETELY INDIVIDUAL’

Do you have any favourite materials? Terracotta and stoneware clay. I mix my own blend to achieve unique colours and textures. I enjoy working with clay for its forgiving nature, as it can be moulded repeatedly. I use all four elements – earth, water, air and fire – and find myself drawn to materials that come from nature and can return to nature.

Why do you handbuild rather than use a pottery wheel? It allows more freedom and I like how, when the surface is touched, it holds the traces of fingers and fingerprints – each piece is completely individual. It also helps with my experimental and playful approach; I never follow a formula.

Kana Living ceramics in studio
Kana Living

How do you choose your glazes? I try to create surfaces that look like layers of watery pigment, or painterly drips and brushstokes, such as in my ‘Ink’ range (right). I am also inspired by my relationship with food and nature.

Where can we find your ceramics? My pieces are used in restaurants worldwide, from London to Las Vegas, Kuwait, Dubai and Hong Kong. They’ve also been in photoshoots for the likes of Yotam Ottolenghi, Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson and are stocked in shops including Alex Eagle, Goodhood, Couverture & The Garbstore, BondStore and Caro Somerset.

What’s next? At the end of the year, I’m launching a collection in glass to explore the contrasts between the two materials – I am really excited about it. I would also like to do more collaborations. kanalondon.com

This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration October 2019

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