Shaped, poached, pugged – each clay piece
is handmade and very special, made with love. All items are strong and durable,
hardened and burned in fire at 1000 degrees Celsius, reduced after burning,
cooled and waxed, therefore experienced a huge transformation.
Every bowl, accessory or vase created from the Baltic clay is a mystery – an echo of ancient craftsmanship and knowledge, creativity and message.
These clay items are part of nature, made from materials found in the ground, transformed through fire, air and water.
Every item longs for its true owner, who will cherish its uniqueness. Did anything here attract your attention? Then probably the Spirit of Clay has spoken to you.
Podusēta and the Spirit of Clay
There is an old house in Latgale called “Podusēta”. It has become the home, workshop and the place of inspiration of the artist Aiga Dātava. The brand name was derived from the ancient name of the house.
Aiga created Podusēta to reflect her perception of life in the clay that turns into dishes and other clay items with a story. This story is about meaning of life, secrets of existence and love towards nature. It subtly reminds us that humans are just a part of nature. We all are connected. Aiga hopes that her ceramics are liked not only for their looks, but also for their spirit.
Nature and human life is cyclical. So is the Universe. Everything comes to an end. However, then a new beginning is born.
Latgale and Black Reduced Ceramics
Latgale is the Eastern region of Latvia – location with old pottery traditions acknowledged in the “Latvian Cultural Canon” under the chapter “Folk traditions”.
In the second part of the 20th century pottery masters of Latgale restored the old tradition of the black reduced ceramics, which was known for thousands of years, before the era of glazed ceramics. Actually, for some decades now both of these traditions co-exist together. However the craftsmanship of the black reduced ceramics gained new appreciation as something ancient and mysterious.
How the clay becomes hardened
Aiga Dātava works only with hands, without using pottery lathe.
‘’I work the same way people did long time ago, when they formed their first clay bowl. That's why every dish has countless finger touches – through every step of crafting.”
Once they are shaped, the items are burned in a special kiln kindled with wood. Clay burning continues about 12 hours. The temperature in the kiln reaches over 1000 degree Celsius. That makes pottery durable.
To fire a kiln is a test of a craftsman’s knowledge, patience, and endurance. At first pottery must be placed into the kiln – side by side so that it does not get broken. Also one needs to leave free spaces for fire to get through.
Usually the kiln gets kindled early in the morning. It must be heated up slowly. The temperature is raised gradually. The craftsman has to be nearby, to keep an eye on the temperature. All this is based on experience and intuition. It is a mystical process, where the craftsman becomes one with fire and his pottery.
To continue the process, the kiln must be closed so that the air does not get in. When oxygen has burned out, clay deoxidizes and now changes its colour. It takes long hours before the kiln can be opened. The freshly burned items are still very hot. When the items are taken out, they get inspected and cleaned. The process of creation is over this time. Thus, every item has been in touch with all natural super powers – inspiration, soil, water, fire and air, which gives them a breath of life.