earthly dough
earthly dough

Just like the soft clay grows under the hands of a potter, so does the craft of Tri Nite blooms with their determination. With sisters we talk about clay, patience and why is their dining table never empty.

How does it feel to live and create nowadays? Have your days changed since the situation in the world has changed so fundamentally?

We live and create slowly. In the first days of this strange situation, we did not even dare to promote  our products. The fact that the whole Earth had a big problem simply did not allow us to. The first thoughts were about how we could help. Together with the initiative Sew and let sew, we started sewing face masks for our loved ones and they continue to do so. This period of time tests creativity but also the determination of every artist and we are no exception. We are looking for ways to bring pleasure and meaning to our products in the crisis of such proportions.

Why ceramics? Where did it all start?

Ceramics is unobtrusive age-old love. It started when our youngest sister was about three years old. We lived in Saudi Arabia, our mother used to bake homemade bread for us, and her most faithful helper in kneading the dough was three-year-old Annamária. Our friends and family began to call her Miesiželezo (Iron Knead). Annamária never got bored of working with her hands. Later in her childhood, she dug in clay, cooked various mixtures of mud in the yard and seemed to enjoy it for a strangely long time. Annamária started focusing on ceramics three years ago, one of her first impulses was certainly the study of the art school. But she has focused on the study of ceramics exclusively three years ago. Some time ago, as sisters, we agreed that it is time to join skills, work on marketing and unite our work. We started asking our sister a lot of questions and she slowly passed on to us everything she has learned over the years. And so here we are, Tri Nite (Three Threads)…”A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12.

How do you perceive the material itself? Why does it matter?

Good quality material is the basis of any product, our creation is no exception. Why would we use baking form for bread which has not been done correctly or the ratio of fireclay is not right? It took almost a year for us to find a suitable material for our products and we are still learning. Semi-porcelain has proven to be a suitable material for mugs, shallow and deep plates. As far as glazes are concerned, we invest in high-quality brands. The teapot, bowl and our customers are simply worth it.

What else matters in production?

It depends on many circumstances. Patience, strength, sensitivity, all in the perfect harmony. But the practice is what matters the most. You do not become a potter overnight. We patiently learned our way until we have reached the desired level in the products we offer today and it all took one long year. Hours and days spent around the wheel paid off with quality products. We still have our damaged pieces archived in our warehouse and it is not five, ten or twenty of them..we could count hundreds of pounds of clay that remind us of hard work and determination.

Do you follow a certain daily routine in your studio? What usually kicks you to work?

If we can consider turning on the heater in the studio the day before as a routine, then yes, we have a routine. In fact, especially the Christmas period, full of deadlines, really tests our schedule. Orders and upcoming deadlines kick us to work the most. We consider inspiration to be a beautiful thing, but it must go hand in hand with motivation.

Can a mistake be considered beautiful ?

Of course, we avoid mistakes or more precisely, we try not to make them. However a small mistake is a proof of manual work. Even in big companies, I notice the effort of making products looking irregular so they give away the feeling of handmade. Ceramics is an unpredictable medium and the kiln is a place between heaven and earth. The place where one of the two equally made plates shrinks more than the other, the place where the powder glaze is applied in the same way, two different patterns are formed. In the end, those mistakes give the whole thing a handmade stamp.

How does a set table at Tri Nite looks like? Do you prefer a deep or shallow plate? Big or small mug?

The table at Tri Nite is a folding table. We have a large family and spontaneous visits by our friends whom we always welcome. The table is usually decorated with a century-old flax tablecloth, shallow white plates with a raised edge, on which our most popular semi-matt, dark grey deep plates “rest”. We named them Jupiter, after the majestic glaze. If we are talking about a set table, in addition to the Jupiter plate, there must also be a Mug, or, as we like to call it, a pot. It is just right for morning tea, large enough and thanks to the semi-porcelain, the material from which it is made, the tea does not cool down so fast. Last but not least, there are countless small bowls on the table, for sauces, dressings and various side dishes. Recently I was walking around the warehouse (the quest room that became our mini warehouse) and realised that we have produced almost everything. From miniature children’s tea sets to bread forms or coffee drippers. Our folding table would not be enough for all of this.

Where do you see the future of your studio? Is it still mainly utility pottery or do you have other projects planned?

Our projects Tri Nite is about us, three sisters who decided to create together. Each of us creates differently, in a different area. Tri Nite is no longer just ceramics, although it is still a key medium for us, we also do digital design, accessories and possibly other things in the future. The plans are wide and open. One of us plans to finish her psychology studies, another one to raise her children to become good people, while none of use wants to stop doing what we love – to create.

How do you perceive manual work? Do you notice any change in the perception of crafts in recent years?

For the last two or three years, I have been noticing a shift in the way we perceive material in Slovakia. I can see small changes in thinking that are gradually spreading amongst people. While the generation of our parents lived with the lack of, our generation, on the other side, already has plenty of, even a great abundance. This easily accessible, fast life, however, caused ecological changes and people began to look back. I think that individuals are starting to find out that they do not need wardrobes full of poor quality clothes, which they throw away after few uses. They are beginning to be interested in the material, the designer, the quality. I believe that this attitude will apply to all areas of our needs and will also affect us, the ceramic makers.

Photos: Nora and Jakub Čaprnka, Tri nite

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