Meet the PDPAOLA x Central Saint Martins Scholarship winner
Just a few months ago we unveiled the PDPAOLA Scholarship in collaboration with Central Saint Martins, a scholarship program for one student applying to the MA Design: Ceramics, Furniture and Jewellery. And so for our latest issue, we chatted with Steinunn Bjarnadóttir, winner of the scholarship, who told us about her love for ceramics, her experience at Central Saint Martins and her goals for the future.
PDP: Please tell us about yourself.
SB: My name is Steinunn Bjarnadóttir, named after my grandmother. I grew up in a town called Hafnafjordur in Iceland. I am a young designer with a passion for materiality and all the possibilities that ceramic allows. My style is minimalistic and my making, which usually happens on the wheel, is directed by my surroundings, familial and geographical.
I have always had a passion for creating since a young age, initially fostered by drawing and painting, which ultimately led me to do a B. Ed in education, specialising in art. It was in my final year that I had my first encounter with clay as a material during an evening curse and you could say I fell in love with ceramics and it completely changed my “planned” path.
PDP: Why did you choose to study ceramics?
SB: I had lost some of my passion for art through the years and wanted to reconnect with my creative side, so I chose to sign up for an evening course. After my first encounter with clay, I could not let it go. Something just clicked and now I can’t imagine my life doing anything else. I had found the material that suited me. When handling clay, it doesn’t matter how, be it throwing on the wheel or hand-building I feel relaxed. I can be in the studio for hours without noticing the time passing. If I am not in the studio creating, I am thinking about and designing my next project.
PDP: How is the experience of studying at Central Saint Martins so far?
SB: I am extremely happy. It is intense, but the teachers and my fellow students are amazing. Right now, we are doing our first assessments. Over this first month, we have been learning new techniques and design methods, which I am enjoying and absorbing knowledge from.
PDP: What are you up to these days? (apart from your MA at Central Saint Martins)
SB: My main focus has been exploring London, going to museums, and galleries, travelling to diverse locations and documenting them by taking photos and sketching the landscape. I went to Canary Wharf for the first time last weekend, it was wonderful to see its vast modern architecture. I have also been trying food from different cultures and meeting new friends.
PDP: In which ways do you think jewelry and ceramics can be related?
SB: Through jewelry and ceramics you can express yourself; they can be used as an extension of your style and personality. In jewelry, you must consider every aspect of the making process as it has an effect on the final product, the same can be said with ceramics. Both use hard materials and you need to know what the material allows, what temperature is correct and how to mould it to your vision. When blended together and used to create one object, the juxtaposition of the smooth metal and rough clay allows both materials to shine, creating a unique design, which I personally adore.
PDP: Do you have a dream project that you would love to realize someday?
SB: It has been a dream of mine to design a light of some kind. A great light fixture/chandelier controls the atmosphere of the space. I am very excited to challenge myself someday with a light project and to be able to create a relaxing and an enjoyable space for myself and others.
Also, I would love to collaborate with other designers in different fields, like jewellery or textiles, to create something unique and fun and have the opportunity to learn from other creators.
PDP: How do you see yourself in the future?
SB: That is a hard question. Previously I would have said with 100% conviction that I would be living in Iceland, working as an independent designer and a teacher. But now, since being at Central Saint Martins my view of my future has changed: I see so many more possibilities. Maybe I will be working as a designer in a company here in London or working as an independent designer somewhere else in the world, but as of now, I don’t really know. But the thing I know for sure is that it will be connected to ceramics in some way. I look forward to seeing where my future takes me, it is unknown but exciting.