For centuries, pottery has not only served as functional tools but also as works of art. Artist Clara Holt collaborates with Chiara Zoppei to continue this tradition. Together, they create Terracotta Blues. This striking series of blue and red ceramic pieces recall ancient aesthetics from Greece and Italy. Etched into these beautiful vases are dreamy narratives inspired by myths, making them a vision to behold.
In this project, Zoppei—who works as a ceramist in Milan—produced a series of terracotta ceramics based on classical forms. These vases were then passed onto Holt, who embellished their surface with her illustrations. To do this, she employed the sgraffito technique, where a layer of slip (a mixture of clay, pigment, and water) is applied over the surface of the pot. Then, she used a sharp tool to scratch and carve the design, which slowly revealed the natural color of the clay vessel below. This resulted in the striking combination of blue slip and natural terracotta red.
As for what Holt etches into the vases, there are many identifiable figures such as mermaids and winged humans, as well as numerous animals. “In Terracotta Blues, there is no clear and recognizable subject, no precise story,” Holt explains to My Modern Met. “They are dreamlike scenes, imaginary characters that leave room for interpretation. For example, in one vase there is a mermaid hypnotized by a jellyfish; in another, a warrior mermaid armed with a sword and shield against two giant octopuses…” This freedom allows viewers to immerse themselves in these 360 artworks and find the motifs that speak to them.
Scroll down to see more art from the Terracotta Blues series, and follow Holt's Instagram to keep updated on her latest projects.
Artist Clara Holt collaborated with ceramist Chiara Zoppei in one of her latest projects.
Titled Terracotta Blues, this series is inspired by classical forms and ancient mythologies.
Zoppei created the terracotta vessels on her wheel, basing them on classical pottery examples.
Afterward, they were passed onto Holt who employed the sgraffito technique to decorate them.
This involves applying a layer of slip (clay, pigment, and water) to the vase.
After which, Holt used a sharp tool to carve the design into the surface.
This reveals the natural color of the pot underneath, which results in the striking color combination of blue and red.
These illustrations have no concrete narrative, allowing the viewer the freedom to create their own interpretation.
Mermaids, winged humans, and animals all make an appearance in these beautiful pieces.