“It all starts with shape and color,” says this rising-star French ceramist Alice Gavalet. Using a knifelike tool, Gavalet slices earthenware into flat forms that she then hand-assembles into three dimensions, firing the results before painting them with colorful enamels for one last bake, all in her petite workshop just outside Paris. The wild and whimsical pieces (squiggly striped vases, mirrors outlined in zany shapes) take inspiration from Ettore Sottsass’s playful objects, Jean Dubuffet’s graphic compositions, and her nine-year-old daughter’s spontaneous drawings.
By Gavalet’s admission, her own works—often large and heavy—aren’t exactly practical, but, she says, “I consider them sculptures that can be used.” It’s an idea she undoubtedly gleaned from the 10 years and counting she has worked as an assistant to the legendary furniture designer Elizabeth Garouste, known for her spirited takes on functional objects. Today Gavalet’s eye-popping confections are steadily entering the spotlight. This summer, her vessels appear in “Ceramics NOW:,” an exhibition of contemporary art pottery at Paris’s Galerie Italienne. She’s also finishing up “a very baroque floor lamp” for Michèle Hayem Gallery in Paris. Says Gavalet: “I like surprises, and I don’t like to repeat myself.” instagram.com/alicegavalet