We’ve heard so many stories about Dunja Ignis over the last couple of months. After investigating her Instagram and Tumblr, we were unconditionally in love, and so curious to find more about this young artist with such a beautiful and an exceptional aesthetic. Therefore, today you are about to meet wonderful Martina Bilan, a ceramic artist based in Croatia. Martina lives in the scenic countryside, where under pseudonym Dunja Ignis creates beautiful clay art, botanical drawings, imageries, and embroideries. In the interview below meet Dunja Ignis, admire her minimalist ceramic vases and ceramic objects, listen to her musings and inspirations…
CERAMIC ARTIST: MARTINA BILAN / DUNJA IGNIS
Who is Dunja Ignis?
My name is Martina Bilan, but Dunja is my pseudonym for years now. I thought I have a face of someone who can easily be Dunja just as it is Martina.
Your relationship with the clay- how did it all start?
In college I took sculpting class for one semester and I liked how I could get lost when working with hands. It stops your brain from worrying and you just work, and in the end you have physical evidence of your work.
Can you describe us your creating process; do you have any special techniques?
I tried almost the every method of pottery except wheel, because I don’t own a wheel yet. Generally, I have an idea and then experiment until I get the shape I had in mind. I browse the Internet, tutorials, forums… Sometimes I feel like Pat and Mat. It’s a lot of fun. I’m still searching for my style.
“It stops your brain from worrying and you just work, and in the end you have physical evidence of your work.”
Are you a perfectionist or you are allowing the clay to show its little imperfections?
I don’t mind if final project doesn’t look perfect but I’m perfectionist in the process. I want to be sure I do everything right and that I understand and master every step.
Do you usually work in the collections or your works are spontaneous?
I like to work in collections, and I like collections to have the beginning and the end.
When creating your ceramic objects is it the form or is it function you are thinking of?
I prefer objects to be functional but I don’t see that as an obstacle for being creative. It ads fun to process and it’s mind puzzling sometimes.
Can you tell us a little bit about your drawings and motives?
I really love nature and all things botanical so I’m mostly drawing plants. They are always inspiring, like portraits of people.
“I prefer objects to be functional but I don’t see that as an obstacle for being creative.”
What does your typical workday look like, are you loyal to routine or maybe have any special ritual?
I don’t have routine cause I always have lots of projects and hobbies. So I jump from one thing to another. I’m also into weaving, embroidery, photography, DIY…everything.
How do you keep yourself focused?
I ride my bicycle for hour or two and I’m born again.
What currently inspires you?
All things minimal, Helen Frankenthaler colors, geometry, science, universe, the usual.
You are also a photographer?
I try to be. Maybe one day I will be.
Our little birds told us that you are such a lovely creature who is working and living with her sister in the countryside house. It all sounds like a dream to us! Tell us, please, something about this?
Yes, I’m living in the countryside my whole life and I love it. I tried living in Split for a while ,but even Split was overcrowded for my taste. We are not too far from Split so I don’t feel disadvantaged. Our house is our atelier and playground. My sister is designer and founder of brand Dott. She is making beautiful clothes. I’m usually head to toe in Dott.
Dunja Ignis ceramics are available at designer store Krug