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It was while shopping at a favorite plants and design shop here in Los Angeles when I came upon a little ceramic plant pot embellished with its very own 5 o’clock shadow. A friend noted it was the creation of Pawena Thimaporn, a Los Angeles designer…

PawenaStudio-jewelry

Further online investigation led me to both Thimaporn’s online shop and Instagram, where my eyes were drawn to a ceramic creation of unusual shape, but actual practical purposes: a squat skatedeck-shaped wall piece [shown above] that immediately and inexplicably reminded me of Renzo Piano’s Centre Pompidou in miniature. A one-of-kind prototype, my appreciation for the piece was solely aesthetic before I learned it was actually designed to display jewelry: earrings, rings, necklaces.

PawenaStudio-mugs

PawenaStudio

My interest in Thimaporn’s work eventually led me to a correspondence where I learned about her background and her full catalog of graphical pottery, mugs, pitchers, plates, and other handmade ceramics. A childhood spent in the countryside on a farm in Thailand exposed her to all the tools Thimaporn would one day use as an artist and ceramicist – wooden sticks, clay and mud – while an education in Industrial Design with a major in Ceramics at KMITL in Bangkok, Thailand followed with additional studies in Graphic Design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena fine tuned her skills into the current oeuvre.

PawenaStudio2

PawenaStudio3

When asked about her design process and graphical style, Thimaporn remarked, “My work is explorative and led by instinct. Spontaneous ideas play in my head — this is where my process begins. From sketches to clay to wheel to hand built techniques, my ceramic work transforms into a blend of organic and geometric shapes. The results lead to graphic and modernistic pottery both in shape and form.”

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Thimaporn's catalog of work is characterized by a playful palette and shapes, but she also offers several pieces with an earthen personality of equal charm.

Thimaporn’s catalog of work is characterized by a playful palette and shapes, but she also offers several pieces with an organic and earthen personality of equal charm.

Clay allows me to experiment with various textures and colors that speak to who I am, from simple, pure forms to more expressive graphic patterns. Ceramics is my window back home and a chance to play with natural elements using my hands. Ultimately, it all begins and ends with hands, from the hands of the maker to the hands of the end user.

Just in case you’re wondering, I ended up purchasing the prototype display piece motivated by an appreciation for it as a functional sculpture. I don’t wear jewelry normally, but if I begin, I now have the most wonderful way to display and store it.

Gregory Han is Tech Editor of Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at gregoryhan.com.