TELLING STORIES THROUGH CERAMICS WITH PARNEET PAHWA
This month’s theme explores the impacts of Lockdown, calling on emerging talent to look for the positives that have come out of these challenging times and consequently, how these experiences have inspired design.
Carry on reading to discover what our designers think about how lockdowns will shape the future of the design world!
INTRODUCING THE DESIGNER
I like telling stories. Specialising in ceramics, my work has always been very personal; creating objects that people can interact with and make memories with has been a major source of inspiration. I primarily work with slip-casting and glazing, adding textures to my pieces, making them distinctive. I hope as I work on my collections, in the process, I am able to inspire people to pause, communicate with them my story and that of my pieces, celebrating every moment. Functional ceramics for a modern home.
How much do you think the pandemic and lockdowns has influenced your design work?
I think the pandemic has been a major influence on my work. With the lockdown, a lot of us have realised how important it is to be close to our family, and have our loved ones around us. Being away from my family and friends the past year made me realise how much I missed having social interaction and how much our loved ones can do by just being present. This collection stemmed from this feeling of reconnecting with family and truly appreciating the little moments, creating togetherness. I wanted to take this concept of togetherness one step forward and turn something as mundane as eating a meal into an event. Something that makes everyone in the house want to come down to the dining table to have a meal, spend time together, and be present. Using pastel colours, organic textures, and designing fun platters, this collection is about celebrating families and creating a comforting dining experience.
Where did your interest in design stem from?
I have always loved creating. As a young kid, I enjoyed upcycling unwanted things around the house and making personalised presents for my family. I think this is where it stems from, for my art to be in someone’s house not just as a piece of decoration but to have a bigger purpose, have a function has been an important focus and starting point. Growing up, this passion for creating intertwined with storytelling, enabling me to produce work that captures a memory or shares a little part of me with the audience.
Do you think the ways in which lockdown has changed our lifestyle will continue to influence the design industry? What are your trend predictions for 2022?
I think it is very much possible that our lockdown lifestyle influences the design industry for the next couple of years. With life going back to some form of “normal”, the lockdown has taught us to slow down, to appreciate the little things, nature, and the concept of slow living. I think we are looking at potentially a shift towards a more sustainable lifestyle, an increase in more organic brands, simple packaging, and more purposeful design. Designing for a more conscious audience and making for a sustainable future.
What helped you get through lockdown?
I always looked forward to my morning walks and some sunshine. While some days doing as little as making my bed and waking up to a clean kitchen helped me start my day better; going for long walks, listening to some music by the river, and coming back home to bake a fresh batch of cookies kept me going. Learning about hygge, this Danish way of living helped me change the way I look at life and start with small changes that make me get closer to a more hygge lifestyle, being truly present in the moment.
What inspires you most on a day-to-day basis?
People I interact with, especially my family and things that are part of my daily routine inspire me the most. These interactions are what create a thread of stories that I then start putting into my body of work, and they become a part of my collection, story-telling one table-setting at a time. A great example of this would be the ring platter in my latest collection; also known as the Pani Puri platter, inspired by a loved street food that brings India together, it was one of the first pieces I designed for Creating Togetherness, a collection celebrating family dining.
When spending so much time at home within the last year, what did you realise you were grateful for?
I think I was truly grateful to be creative and have technology help us stay connected. Even though we were stuck at home, to be able to get up and paint or cook a new dish or learn a new song on the ukulele, even if it was brief, it helped me distract myself from upsetting news. Being able to do all these things virtually with my friends and family, like having a concert over FaceTime or going live on Instagram and teaching how to make some cake pops truly made me appreciate the skills I have and how they have helped me and ones around me keep sane through it all.
What’s your go to stimulus when you start to create work?
My go to stimulus would be looking back at memories, going through family photographs, going back to places that calm me down, and looking at things that are truly important to me. Sometimes it’s little moments around me that remind me of a particular memory and I would instantly send myself a voice note to remember an idea that I might end up using later. I love collecting stories and it is this box of memories that I would go back to for inspiration. My work has always been very personal and I think as I step out as a designer-maker, to be able to share that with the world is very fulfilling.