WORDS: KATE WEINER & MARINA BONNIN
IMAGES: TULA PLANTS & DESIGN
I first discovered the work of Marina Bonnin through Tula, a vibrant resource that inspires a deep love for plant life. I had been following Tula on Instagram for many months and was always inspired by their bodacious plants and beautiful arrangements. I particularly fell for Marina's Crescent Collection, a gorgeous series of inky blue-black planters that are a heavenly home for slithering snake plants and ghost white cacti.
I grew up in a home filled with plants and to this day, I feel most at peace in a little Eden. Part of the reason I resonate so deeply with the work of Tula and Marina is that plant life for me is not only about tending to a living, growing, breathing being; it's also an opportunity to infuse my everyday with beauty, to celebrate craft, and to be in colorful conversation with plants. Housing plants in homemade ceramics helps us transform our living spaces into sanctuaries and honor those blossoming botanical beauties who give us life.
Inspired by Marina's wild ceramics that evoke the sea, soil, and night sky, I recently reached out to Marina to learn more about her creative process. Tune in as Marina shares her meditations on making. I hope her reflections will move you as they have moved me to be fearless with your art—to bring mindfulness into your work as well as a spirit of adventure.
LOAM: What inspired you to be a potter?
MARINA: I think it’s the wide range of possibilities that pottery gives me. The material has been used since the beginning of our existence and it still surprises us! It's raw, handmade, it's technical, experimental, it's chemistry...I have said this before but for me [pottery is] like the cookie jar that never ends, a world of endless possibilities.
LOAM: How do you find inspiration in your landscape?
MARINA: The landscape has always limited and expanded my work in different ways. I am used to arriving to a place and making the most with what I have, and that has affected my art practice. I have lived and practiced in London, San Francisco, Stockholm, Mallorca, New York and I spent some months in Japan. When the space has been provided. I made sculptures, and where there was a wheel, I pottered. I love learning from masters in different places and working with the ceramic materials that the place has to offer.
It was not until last year that I found my own voice instead of letting the wind of the landscape guide me. [Right now] two defined landscapes have decided to reside in me and give me a voice, One is the calmness and the sea of Mallorca; the other is the disruption of the city, the noises, the smoke. You can see this juxtaposition in my last work made in collaboration with Tula House.
LOAM: What experiences and emotions fuel your creative process?
MARINA: Two main emotions drive me. One is the mindfulness that gives me the practice of pottery. The process of [working at the] wheel is one in which you are totally present. You cease to exist [when you are throwing]; there is no place for memories or debate, only the intuition that your hands have developed through the process of repetition.
The second emotion starts during the process of glazing. I like to be quite rough and disruptive [when I am glazing] and sometimes it can get intense. I think the experiences that led me to those emotions come from my time in Japan. [In Japan] tradition and futuristic elements are equal parts of society, and so contradictory elements can coexist and beneficiate from each other.
LOAM: How does living with plants help us live fuller lives?
MARINA: I am a believer that plants and beauty improve your wellbeing. To be surrounded by colorful organic forms that live and breathe in my house just makes me feel happier. And having plants gives life to your house, literally.
Plants also purify the air. Even more importantly, when I enter a house full of plants my perception of my host changes completely. [When I see plants in a home] I immediately think of my host as a caring and loving person that appreciates all form of life. It takes time, patience and care to make those beings beautiful and I think that can give you a lot as a person.
LOAM: Tell us more about your collaboration with Tula!
MARINA: Christian & Ivan from Tula and I decided to venture out ourselves in the production of the project Crescent. It has been a really productive and enjoyable collaboration in which every potted plant has become a true work of art. There is a curatorial part of Tula that I love, and they know so much about plants it's crazy! One of my favorite collaborations is this one: I will make a crazy pot, in the manner described before, very peacefully and very mindfully, and then I may punch it or kick it or disrupt it in some way. In the same way, Tula will be very caring and mindful of the plant's needs—when to prune, re-pot, irrigation system, kind of soil, light—and then they will be totally creative with which plant goes with what pot and make the wildest and craziest juxtaposition. In this sense I believe every potted plant in the Crescent Collection is a work of art.
FOLLOW MARINA ON INSTAGRAM @MIXING_SOUP