Exhibition Posted Online: Monday, March 13, 2023 at 10 am MT
Nicole Aquilllano took an unconventional path to become a studio potter. After first pursuing a career in civil engineering, she left to follow her passion and earned her MFA from RISD in 2021. Since then, she has developed a successful ceramics line which she produces and sells across the country. In addition to her own original collections, she works with galleries and stores to create custom imagery for their shops. She also creates custom pieces for individual collectors.
Working from photographs, Nicole draws each image by hand directly into the porcelain clay with a knife and inlays a dark underglaze. The high temperature of the kiln combined with a clear glaze overlay slightly blurs the drawing, much like a faded memory. Each piece is one-of-a-kind; mix and match images to create a uniquely personal narrative or order custom imagery to create your own exclusive collection.
Fascinated by the potential of place to define and connect us, I draw subtle narratives on functional work to elicit memories of past experiences. Through the labor-intensive act of making, I establish a close personal relationship with each piece. Architectural imagery drawn from my photographic collection – inlaid with intense attention to detail directly into the porcelain clay body – prompts display of my work when not in use, as a meaningful addition to any collection. Blurred by the movement of glaze, the imagery is much like a faded memory.
I am particularly interested in exploring the human need to maintain collections, as a way to preserve the past and satisfy the longing with which we inhabit the world: driven by a desire to hold onto that which will inevitably be lost. My memories and experiences are carved onto objects intended to be both used and collected: as a way to facilitate new relationships to fill the void left by that which we will never have again.