Artist Irina Zaytceva works with clay to craft elegant vessels—but with a distinct twist. Going beyond conventional cups and vases, she adds wings, thick vines, and coral structures that seemingly sprout from the side of the porcelain sculptures. They offer a whole new meaning to Zaytceva’s surface decorations, which are soft, dreamy portraits of people and nymph-like creatures. With the additions, these characters are suddenly taking flight or diving under the sea. Together, they tell one fantastical story—a skill that Zaytceva has honed thanks to her MFA in book illustration.
Zaytceva has a painterly approach to her glazing techniques. She achieves an incredible range of tone and color in her work, and the figures seem to glow with an inner light. To do this, she uses a series of underglaze (applying the design before it’s glazed) and overglaze (painting on top of an already glazed surface). This helps to give her work depth both visually and conceptually, and proves that you don’t need the pages of a book to tell a compelling tale.