Olivia Tani

I generate formally diverse and inventive objects, but speak with a coherent style and vocabulary of planes, angles, volume, and compositional balance—falling somewhere between utility and sculpture. Indulging in moments of excess, volume guides my formal stylization. The attention to volume creates compositional balance, interacting with the hand, the eye, and light.

Building each piece has its own rhythmic and extensive process, heavily based in experimentation and spontaneity. My works are primarily slab built and occasionally include wheel-thrown components. I approach them as a geometric puzzle, changing form with every slight adjustment to the surface planes. Each new piece begins with the general shape and the function it will serve. Building slab by slab allows for constant reflection and awareness of form. Every addition directly influences the next. This kind of control is constant throughout my practice; each section is measured, drawn, cut from paper, and made into a slab. My practice revolves around the idea of breaking down and building back up.

Attracted to the challenge of translating an imagined three-dimensional form into a two-dimensional blueprint, I am drawn to the intersections of planes, and how that affects the composition of line, or where to create the illusion of an inflated mass, and finally, what inflation does to proportion and composition. These questions circulate until I find a language of shapes for a piece or series. The vernacular may change slightly from object to object, though the same structural logic maintains a consistency.

Ultimately, pottery evokes generosity. The fullness of the inflated elements attracts touch and interaction. I pay attention not only to form and function, but also to contact, questioning how a human body will approach and handle each object. The haptic quality of masses and volumes is attractive and engaging. I view my work as a kind of functional domestic sculpture. In the end, the wares I make are utilitarian, yet they can stand alone as celebrations of form.