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“The instinctive emotional response to the process of growth, repetition, duality, a constant push and pull between the opposites of order and chaos, planned and spontaneous, perfect and imperfect are ideas that drive my creativity. Having a background in architecture, the appreciation of surrounding environment is the starting point of every piece. Their design is defined by a set of guiding principles and a process of response, carefully curating a conversation with the space that surrounds them. It is about how the pieces answer to their environment as well as the material they are created from rather than how they look on their own and it is designing with voids and shadows as much as with material elements.”

“What started my exploration in clay was its honesty, tactility and vulnerability. Through working with it I began to start wondering about

what creates an emotional human connection and what is it that makes us human. We are all based on algorithmic DNA, the same in

principle, yet everyone is unique with the addition of unpredictable and spontaneous events that shape us to who we are.”

“This innate clash of algorithmic and chaotic that we feel instinctively within us, the ever-present duality is my constant curiosity. I also strive to preserve in my pieces that sense of vulnerability and human connection through leaving in it my marks, gestures and fingerprints.”

“My work is made entirely by hand in unglazed porcelain with delicate metal details. I develop additive processes of accumulation of gestures, materials and elements and then create a series of pieces through the same process, but with each being completely unique, though different material response and slight variation of gestures. Putting those pieces together creates a conversation between them emphasizing simultaneously the similarities in their differences and differences in their similarities.”

Ula Saniawa of Unit89 is an award-winning ceramic artist based in London.

Gallery Collection

Galley Collection

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Artist Q&A

Artist Q&A

Q&A from June 2023 for exhibition 'Trace' at OmVed Gardens

Can you talk us through a usual day in your studio?


U: Every day in the studio is a little different, but they all start about 9am with a coffee. What follows is a combination of making, assembly, design, research and experimentation and every day consists of different proportions of those aspects.

Some days are spent repetitively making tens or hundreds of individual elements and some would be assembling them into compositions, making slight changes, stepping back and evaluating, repeating every few minutes until the composition feels right.


When making, I usually also get ideas for new pieces, elements or techniques, so I might sometimes take a small break during the day if I can to test and play around to see if that would be a path worth looking into.


Team lunch is another ritual thing in the studio which we have with my assistants. Afterwards we review and continue with our tasks. My assistants finish about 6pm, however I am a natural night owl and feel most inspired working late evening, so that’s when a lot of ideas get developed, most days I finish about midnight.



When did you first start working in clay?


U: My first encounter with clay was during my last year of the architecture degree when, looking for other, more tangible creative outlet than just working in front of the computer screen and encouraged to take up something that I would enjoy failing at to combat my debilitating perfectionism, I have signed up for an evening pottery course. Working with clay has taught me about myself more than I could have ever imagined. It opened my eyes to seeing beauty in imperfection, calmed my mind through repetitive processes and taught me courage to take risks, experiment and accept failure because you can’t fully control what comes out of the kiln and all of this experience permeated my entire life.


What’s been the most pivotal moment in your work so far?


U: I feel that my practice is constantly moving to new, unexplored places and the pivotal moments come a couple of times a year, however the first one was a completion of my first large scale hanging installation piece in Roka Aldwych restaurant in 2019. It was the first project, where I could merge my architecture and ceramic background and the one that propelled me into a new, large-scale direction.

What inspired your newest Elements series?


U: It is an evolution and progression of the elements I have previously worked with as well as an exploration of convergence of different forms and scales, creating opportunity for a new composition dynamic.

The elements continue to explore the duality of forces ruling the natural world - the mathematical patterns with chance and chaos.


Your process involves both structured repetition and expressive intuition, what are you thinking about as you work? Do you listen to music?

U: Yes, that’s true and I’m glad it comes across because it is the expression of how my mind works. Yes, I do usually listen to music or a podcast or if I’m late in the studio, I listen to a netfix show that I already know well, because in a way it transports me into another place. My mind can run a million miles per hour, so sometimes it helps to listen to something to quiet it down and then in this space, I’m able to analyse my ideas or think of new ones. During the repetitive making process I can get into a state of flow, which feels very meditative and brings a lot of reflection, however when creating a composition, I am completely focused on the interactions between elements and am constantly assessing whether the elements I am about to introduce is a right fit, scale, shape, orientation…it is hundreds of little decisions an hour and it is utterly consuming.


How do you decide when a piece works? What are you looking for in a final composition?


U: Equilibrium, a feeling of balance…it is hard to describe what needs to be done to arrive there, it is just a trust in the process and careful observation of what emerges then responding to it. When a piece is complete it feels as if it becomes its own individual entity and is repelling any further intervention. It is tranquil.

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