March 20, 2014
In our very first story from London, Ana Kerin reflects on her relationship with her city of choice – as the owner of Kana ceramics, she constantly gets inspired by her surroundings. Yet “less is sometimes more. London is a city of opportunities! It gives back as much as you are willing to give. And that only seems fair…”
I moved to London in January 2012. Looking back now, I can’t remember how I could find the courage to do so. I made this enormous decision and moved from Slovenia to London in about ten days time.. it all happened so quickly that it feels like it happened over night! It’s been an incredible journey from day 1 to where I am now. It’s that typical story of going for a 6 month adventure – the plan to explore the city, its art, its culture – and at the same time finishing my Fine Arts dissertation and to make a living – and working for a lovely half Slovenian / half English family as their nanny. And then I just stayed… London sucked me in.. with its subtle, gentle charms. It was a slow and lingering love affair… there was one thing after another… first, was the salted butter, and then the tea drinking with which comes the biscuit dunking – digestives with dark chocolate. As with most love affairs, it felt like it happened over night – quite honestly, I have no idea when or how it happened. One day I just realised, that’s it – I’m hooked!
Until now it’s been South London for me with all its hustle and bustle. And I was struck by the beauty of the melancholic light, transforming the most banal scenes into something quite surreal. Turner just painted what he saw – it’s all real! The sky at dawn as it turns bright blue whilst the streets are dark and mysterious with their glowing orange street lights. I can’t stop falling in love with the expansive sky, the clouds gliding so fast that it seems like the earth spins even faster. At first, it felt like this city is so big that I will never be able to understand it. It’s still big… but at the same time, it feels like an island. There is something about islands that I love. They make my heart feel in the right place – grounded. Strong winds make me feel like there is an ocean all around.. I can even smell some seasalt.
In London, my lungs are wide open and I can breath deeply – that is what makes me feel at home. Riding the bus from the airport, sinking deeper and deeper into the city, each time I feel my excitement mooting in my stomach. That’s the place that makes me happy whenever I return.
I have always been a sculptor and was first introduced to ceramics as part of my Fine Arts course in Slovenia back in 2006. Clay has been a medium that I have found myself returning to – it’s just so tactile. I always get a kick making beautiful objects of purpose and practicality – my objects are to drink tea from and eat salad out of during lunch breaks. I will always be a sculptor, that’s what makes my approach to ceramics so different – it’s experimental. I love to challenge the technical aspect of it. Travelling in West Africa has influenced my approach to ceramics hugely – pottery there reflects the landscape, the required function. My work still has function but is contemporary to the environment I exist in – somehow London feels like the right place to be…
I have amazing friends here in London – that’s a huge part of feeling at home here. They inspire me everyday. London is a huge multicultural mix – I have the feeling of being part of that mix and feel very much at home among other creatives. I love South London. I first moved to Elephant and Castle, spending most of my days in Brixton, Camberwell and Peckham. But recently, I had to move East – to Homerton. I had to be closer to my ever-increasing number of jobs. Most of my friends are living just around the corner – in Clapton, London Fields, Dalston, Hackney Wick. I love it there, it’s really neighbourly – I regularly bump into friends whilst cycling, grocery shopping or having coffee in my favorite cafes. That familiarity makes me incredibly happy. I have kept my studio in Peckham, because I still need a bit of South London in my life. And I need that balance – that raw South. It keeps me sane.
Overall, being creative in London – it’s a great challenge. This city is as mad as it is inspiring. At the same time, it’s totally exhausting. Back home in Ljubljana, I was craving more exhibitions, more shows, more gigs, more culture!… And here it makes me feel indecisive – there is simply so much to ingest! Where to go on my only night off during the week? Is it worth it? Less is sometimes more. Sometimes, I get greedy, since I need to feed my hunger for culture and as a result of my greedy binge I then need a few months to process what I absorbed in that one indulgent week.. but what is true about this city is that it’s a city of opportunities! It gives back as much as you are willing to give. And that only seems fair…