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Why ceramics

Many years of experience in Damascus technology allowed me to easily and quickly master a similar technology, only in a different material. Clay, and especially porcelain, are able, in the same sequence, to go through the entire cycle of splicing and modulation of color composites without loss of clarity of the small module. It is easy to detect their apparent similarity not only in the technological moments of mixing and exposing the internal structure, or in their constructive principle of compilation, but also in similar compositional patterns associated with color and graphic means of expression on the surface of finished products, which cannot but attract with its logical beauty.

What is the difference between natural stone and such a material as mixed colored masses? In essence, they are very related in terms of the chemical composition of their substances - the color palette is formed due to impurities of oxides and salts of various metals - but the methods of "kneading" are slightly different; in one case, nature "creates" while in the other, the creation results from the consciousness and experience of man.

The "neriage" technique is associated with natural textures and mixing methods, similar to a Damascus steel technique, the so-called "wild damascus", where composites are mixed by layering in a single direction, folding like a stack of paper sheets, or like puff pastry in the case of clay. From this standpoint, the textures can be very similar to the textures of various types of wood in the case of metal or various ornamental stones in the case of ceramics (marble, granite, jasper, lapis lazuli). This is the predecessor of the “agateware” technique which was born in medieval China as a way to imitate natural agate.

The technique of "nerikomi" experienced significant development and application among Japanese ceramic artists in the 60s of the twentieth century. Here, the technique of mixing various colored masses became more complicated and began to bear, in addition to decorative properties, an artistically semantic load.

In parallel, the same trends were observed in the technique of Damascus steel; a special constructive sense appeared in the folding of composite steels (the so-called mosaic damascus), which improved the mechanical properties of blade steel, and the pattern emerging on the surface of the product, in addition to decorative and stylistic properties, was a technological map of the authenticity of the manufacturing method of the blade.

It so happened that at about the same time as I began experimenting with the technique of Damascus steel in 1988, I also started using clay of two colors as a material for modeling the process of folding and opening the internal structure of various packages of steel. Of course, I couldn't have known that this was, in essence, "nerikomi". And only a few years ago the idea and opportunity materialized to explore this technique more substantially.

Wild and Mosaic Damascus
Nerikomi and Neriji ceramics