17 November 2020 - 10 January 2021

In her latest collection of teapots and tea ceremony sets, Russian artist, Natalya Sevastyanova, combines her love for the organic beauty of clay with found driftwood, clusters of crystals or coral and other natural materials, to create unique and unconventional ceramic designs that bridge functionality and sculptural grace.

Deeply informed by the Japanese philosophy and aesthetic of wabi-sabi, her work celebrates the imperfect, the impermanent, the elusive and the idiosyncratic. During the wheel throwing and sculpting aspects of her practice, the artist does not strictly control her materials, and accepting the inevitable, she allows the clay to exert some will of its own so that the final forms have a soulful, unpretentious charm and emotional weight. Her glazing choices and application are loose, often resembling natural phenomena such as dripping lava, flowing or bubbling water. She frequently leaves areas of textured clay exposed and unglazed to emphasize the earthiness and raw energy of the work. Once fired and glazed, the artist adds crystals to her pieces including Peacock Kyanite, Amethyst and Orange Aragonite Quartz, which she chooses for their sacred attributes and energetic properties. The final addition is often found driftwood that the artist has collected over many years on hikes everywhere from Malibu, Big Sur and Yosemite, to Corsica, Switzerland and Russia - places where she goes to reconnect to nature and to find inspiration and peace.


Before Sevastyanova discovered ceramics, she spent nearly a decade as a mural artist and subsequently worked in the animation world, where most of her time was spent in front of a computer screen. Creating at the pottery wheel became her escape from the numbing hours of rigging and rendering that had occupied her life. Working with clay developed into a passion, a form of meditation and a way for the artist to reengage with the earth. She quickly gravitated to teapot making and to ceremonial tea sets in the Japanese tradition, where the repetitive mechanics of ritual brewing and pouring of tea have long been an integral part of the culture and the mind-set. To Sevastyanova, tea ceremonies represent hospitality, connection and community. They are a source of comfort, intimacy and a reason for storytelling and friendship. At times they are a perfect opportunity for treasured solitude. Her sculptural tea pots and ceremonial objects have inherited centuries’ old tradition yet are in a sense biographical, where her connection to place, her respect for the planet and her longing for spiritual connection all coalesce. 


Natalya Sevastyanova received a BFA from the Academic College of the Arts, and her MFA in Architectural Design from the Academy of Architecture and Arts, Ekaterinberg, Russia. She is a member of the Ventura pottery guild and currently lives and works in Los Angeles.