Bay watch: Jordan Kushins’ San Francisco-inspired ceramics

Bay watch: Jordan Kushins’ San Francisco-inspired ceramics

Jordan Kushins is an esteemed San Francisco-based design writer. Now, she’s putting her creative accumen to a different kind of test, by creating her own ceramic jewellery, which hangs on hand-tied twine threads.

‘Both writing and making require persistent curiosity,’ Kushins explains of her sidestep from word stringer to ceramic slinger. ‘I’m used to asking other people about how (and why) they do what they do. Now I have to ask the same of myself.’

Her first collection debuted at an open studio she held in San Francisco last October. ‘I’ve consistently heard it’s a very “happy” collection,’ she says. Indeed, the hand-marked pendants in vibrant colourways are joyful, and reference the changing light of Kushins’ home city.

The collection’s relaxed, City by the Bay demeanour belies Kushins’ hard won, crafted precision, and she’s constantly refining her original ideas. ‘My designs – like stories – rarely just spring forth, fully formed and impeccably executed,’ she explains. ‘For every brilliantly written piece you read and connect with, there are likely a million misfires and weird early drafts lurking on a laptop (or bin).’ The same goes for ceramics. ‘It’s in the editing, iteration and experimentation where the magic happens.’

Experimentation is crucial to Kushins’ practice. She forms, fires, glazes and refires everything before planning the layout of the pieces themselves. This way, she can colour-match each individual piece of ceramic to the next. ‘Colour pairings emerge that I hadn’t even considered, and the personality of the piece totally shifts, depending on which shades I put together.’

Never afraid of a new challenge, Kushins’ next collection is going to be rendered entirely in black and white. One wonders if she’s missing the monochromaticity of her typewriter.

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