subcultalk with ceramic artist Pablo Rodríguez from A Coruña, Galicia, Spain

Pablo De Risco offer his Ceramic Workshops "Learn Traditional Pottery of Buño" at his ceramic studio in A Coruña, Galicia, Spain.
For our subcultalk, he took his time and dedicated a Saturday to answer all of the questions we had for him. Get to know him a bit better by reading his answers below. 

1. What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

As it's always difficult to break the ice, let's start with the easy stuff.
Chocolate. Chocolate with nuts, chocolate in the middle of bread, hot chocolate with a scoop of ice cream... but chocolate.

2. What is the art that you do?

My passion is traditional pottery, specifically the traditional pottery of my village, Buño.
The morphological part of the pieces is what most attracts me to this discipline.

And although part of my efforts are dedicated to promote these lines and the process of creation on the wheel, I also believe that each person must contribute and innovate within their field of action.

So in my studio, tradition is the basis on which different projects are based, without fear of experimenting with industrial design or artistic proposals.

3. How did you come to your art?

Since I was a child, I would spend hours watching the potters of my village work at the potter's wheel. How they tamed the clay in the first minutes, and took it to slender forms with elegant and careful hand movements.

I have always been among pieces of clay, because my grandmother's house was the store where my uncle's pieces were sold. And ever since I was tall enough to get on the potter's wheel, there wasn't a summer when I didn't get my hands in the clay.

4. When do you feel most productive?

I feel most productive when I'm already in the middle of the process of creating a piece, being alone in the studio, with the curtains closed and good music or an interview.

Although if we were talking about creativity, definitely at night. I wish it were otherwise and that I could get up earlier, but it doesn't look like it's going to change anytime soon.  

5. What or who inspires you?

The person who has most influenced my understanding of craftsmanship has been my uncle, who is now my teacher. I have always had his pieces close to me, and his respect and affection for this discipline are a fundamental part of my way of understanding ceramics.

The training in Design Engineering has given me in turn a broader perspective on the process of creating a product, and I think it is reflected in the way I treat the pieces. I like to think that the technique of craftsmanship, together with the design process, gives me enough freedom to express myself with this material.

6. In what "little" things do you find the greatest joy?

There is a poem by Borges that expresses very well the enjoyment of the little things, it's called Los Justos. It's a trick answer, I know, but sometimes a good recommendation is also one of those great little pleasures.

And well, although it is a cliché, I believe that beauty is in the detail, there is no detail without observation, and it is practice that helps us to develop that ability.
I like to think that an artist is a person who, through his or her work, allows you to observe small details that only he or she observes.

That appreciation, his or her unique ability to observe, is what gives rise to the beauty of his or her work. We all see beauty in something, the challenge is to know how to translate it and show it to others.

7. What is a life well lived for you personally?

Those who know me know that this kind of questions could end up in a 4-5h conversation haha.

For me, it is a life where ambition does not cloud the importance of living and sharing. I have been alone in dream places, and very well accompanied in the schoolyard of my village. For me the former has never been better than the latter.

8. Do you have a vision or goal you are working on?

I've had an idea in mind for months, which started as a “Why”, and has finally taken shape. Now I just need to make it material to be able to present it this summer.

A kind of “statement” of how I feel about craftsmanship, since for me today it is not only a necessary and functional craft, but a process that brings us as much or more than the final product.

9. What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?

I have tried to row against the current, sitting in front of the computer or paper for hours as a form of “punishment”, as if being stuck or overwhelmed was a lack of motivation or discipline, and it was certainly a mistake.

I believe that every personality has its strengths and weaknesses. Just as I can easily come up with new ideas, I can drown in them, or in their development. Sometimes because I try to imagine the whole process and the possible setbacks before I get down to work.

I have the feeling that my head creates very fast when I have a lot of energy, and in the same way that state is not good for carrying out the piece.

That's where sport comes in, which serves me as a way to channel that energy and then, with serenity, develop the piece.

As Soetsu Yanagi said, when the artisan's hands work autonomously, without effort, at that point of concentration and liberation, is where the magic happens.

10. What is your favorite feeling?

I don't know if it's a feeling or a sensation, but that moment when you are with someone you love, in a natural space, where there is nothing but everything; I feel that if the clock stopped and I had to live in that frame all my life, I would be happy that way.

That feeling of fullness and simplicity makes everything make sense.

PS: As I write, Hermanos Gutiérrez are playing in the background.

Thank you very much, I don't know how it turned out, but I'm so happy!

Thank you, dear Pablo, for making time and dedicating your energy and focus to this interview with us!

You can meet Pablo in person during one of his Ceramic Workshops "Learn Traditional Pottery of Buño" at his ceramic studio in A Coruña, Galicia, Spain. 

Hasta la próxima!

Kat and Team subcultours

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