Malwina Konopacka is an illustrator, designer and graphic artist. Her ceramics work, among which are the unique vase collections, display bold forms with playful hand-painted patterns. While the colours she uses often refer to the traditional porcelain colour pairings, the patterns themselves are modern and fresh. Read up on what Malwina is working on right now and what advice she shared with us!
What is your morning routine?
I get up at 7am. Till 9.30 it is my family time with morning routines with kids. I start working at 10.
What is the first thing you do when you arrive at your studio?
Coffee! That is, when I’m doing “office work” at home. On days in the workshop I start with preparing my brushes.
Do you prefer Instagram, Facebook or no social media at all?
I use Instagram and share everything directly to Facebook. For me Instagram is for spreading pictures to the world, Facebook is more for friends, even my professional profile.
Which magazines and books do you read?
Most of the magazines I read are online. From the printed ones I read Polityka, Vogue and sometimes Tygodnik Powszechny. But books – only printed. I like reportages – big shoutout to Czarne publishing house! And my evening reading is Astrid Lindgren with my kids.
Which three objects would you say are essential to your work?
A piece of paper, pencil-case full of my drawing tools, and a brush.
What are your favourite tools to help you get the job done?
Coloured crayons – they add that final touch in my sketches for the new vase collection.
What inspires you and motivates you to get your work done?
The final effect – it’s not very obvious in ceramics. A few little glitches could change the final look. I can never wait to see the whole collection together!
Can you tell us a funny story from your work?
There are a few. One is about the very first OKO (“eye”) which made its premiere at Tokyo Design Days. The pattern was slightly different and when I got the vase from burning (at a very small manufactory) it appeared full of glitches that I had to cover very fast – I had just a few hours before I had to send the vase for the exhibition. The final version of Kobalt OKO is the result of that situation. Honestly, I love it much more than the first, ideal pattern. I also like the story about OKO Vase in a schoolbook. And the story of OKO Vase used as the urn for my Grandma – I couldn’t find anything nice, so my mum and untie and I decided to use OKO Gold.
What is the project you are working on right now?
I just finished an installation called Fontanna (“fountain”) for Narracje 2019 festival in Gdańsk; and last month I showcased Odyssey at an exhibition in Prague. I’m very proud of these two big pieces!
I am currently remaking almost all the designs and collections for new photoshoots. I’ve never had so many vases all at once!
I also have a new product out: it’s a round vase IRENA <3 (named after my other Grandma). The name fits perfectly with the OKO family names such as Aniela or Teresa.
What do you love about your job? What don’t you like??
I love painting and making new vases! What is difficult about my job is that I do all of it by myself, I can’t really divide the tasks between me and someone else, and it often piles up to be a lot.
Do you prefer hand-made or mass-produced?
Hand-made for now, mass-produced in the future (for serial production).
Do you work individually or with a team?
I work individually but I hope to change that a bit in the near future.
How do you rest and relax after work?
Do you have any advice for anybody who wants to work in your field?
Be honest in making your decisions. Don’t follow trends, make your own. Be consistent.