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The Secret materials of Sergey Makhno. Ceramics

Acquaintance with ceramics

I caught the time when my grandparents used ceramic ware. On my summer vacation, I came to them (to the village in Poltava Oblast), I drank milk from a jug and ate the potatoes from clay bowls. In my childhood, these products were of little interest to me. A pleasant feeling from contact with a natural material I got unconsciously, on the emotional level. The passion for design became a fresh look at the little Ukrainian masterpieces.


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I was growing up, and the unknown world of ceramics and pottery attracted me more and more. Each trip to Poltava turned into an expedition – a kind of "searching" for the vintage ceramic treasures. Since then, I have been collecting jars, pots, makitras, bowls.

It seems to be simple, unpretentious folk arts, but these patterns, colors and shapes have so huge internal energy! Having opened an architectural workshop, I began to bring my ceramic findings there. I put items on the shelves in the cabinet and other rooms – to please the eye and inspire.


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The clay bribed me with its naturalness. I realized all uniqueness of earthenware after having lived the process of the creation from start to finish. The magic of potter's wheel, baking in open earth ovens – these processes are very transcendental.


Hearing the crackle of ceramics in the furnace, observing the birth of things, I can not help feeling that all generations of ancestors empathize this moment with me.


I am inspired by the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture. It seems it had been so long ago (in a previous life!), but the masters had already created the unique pottery of incredible shapes. Scientists deciphered the heritage of this amazing history formation and will be.

Ornamental ceramics are the mirror of people’s life. Due to the old receptacles, we can look at the universe through the eyes of Trypillians, to see some religious symbols and natural phenomena. Ornaments also reflect daily life, the Earth cult (plowing and sowing, plants, animals that guarded the holy harvest.


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Go to the museum. Disconnect your phone for a few hours and feel the atmosphere of ancient ceramics. It is necessary for understanding your deep roots, come closer to the knowledge encrypted in sculpture and ornaments of distant civilizations.
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To touch and hold in hands the treasures of Tripoli, I managed on the antique fair (periodically held in Kiev, take a look). Amusing action. Vaguely reminiscent of the fair, actually. In the role of sellers, there are the archaeologists, trading millennial items. I have never got out of there empty-handed. There is always a thing worthy of designers’ attention. I remember that the first time, I have bought the interesting Trypillian jar. Later, my wife gave me three others as a present. These things adorn my office, surprising guests and inspiring workers.

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The interest to Ukrainian ceramics was so big that I started studying the regional school.

My favorite ceramics centers are Kosiv and Pistyn in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, Oposhnya in Poltava.

In one of the most picturesque corners of Ukraine, called Hutsulia, there was a special trend – tiled stoves (`mal’ovanі pechі`). I am hard to impress, but when I saw old photographs of their homes, I was astonished by a synthesis of art and life! The interiors are very decorative, saturated with ornaments. And most importantly, these "fancy" multistage furnaces stood in the homes of peasants, performing utilitarian functions (heating homes, sleeping, cooking).

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On the tiles, you can find everything whatever your heart desires – read improbable histories, discover the rare folk imagery. Each furnace is a mini-museum with lots of pictures on it.

The tiles can be viewed for hours, and to decode their stories lifetime is little. Even if the pattern is repeated, it’s a brand new interpretation. Together, they compose a vibrant extravaganza of plexuses! Various plants, human figures, animals, birds are connected in a holistic composition. The tile arts represent the daily life and fiction, dreams. Fantasies may proceed in the reality. Religious overtones also can be found.


Each tile is a complete picture, a separate world of images and characters. This is a true celebration of patterns and colors.


Hutsul craftsmen were famous for not only tiles but also domestic utensils of the unthinkable beauty: pots, jugs, bowls, cups. A couple of years ago, I bought an antique flowered dishware from Kosiv. It even had the master signature (a very valuable thing, because most of the Hutsul works are anonymous).

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If we rewind time for a couple of centuries ago (to the 17-19) and ask people to tell about Poltava Oblast, we will hear that this region is rich in pottery. Filigreed works of local residents were appreciated not only in our land but also abroad. Among the notable handicraft centers of those times, I want to point out are Oposhnya, Myrhorod, Glinsk, Zinkiv.


I won’t exaggerate if I say that Oposhnya was the ceramic capital of Ukraine. More than 1,000 masters worked in the village!


When I came to Oposhnya and dropped into the Museum of pottery, I couldn't speak a word because of emotions. I felt proud that my Poltava Oblast had given birth to such amazing objects of the high craftsmanship level and quality. Having looked at pictures of pottery fairs (18-19 centuries), I even recognized own makitras (big clay bowls) on them!

The masters from Oposhnya (Ivan Bilyk, Vasiliy Omelyanenko, Mykhailo Kitrysh) made me fall in love with the zoomorphic sculpture. I came back home from the Museum with a trophy – the work of Omelyanenko that I purchased in a museum shop. It is always pleasant to remember the "first brick" in my future earthenware collection. Now, all flea markets, fairs, and gatherings are the chance for me to find rams, goats, lions, bears, and other animals popular in zoomorphic ceramics. For 6 years, more than 80 wonderful animalistic sculptures have dwelt in my office.

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The earthenware of masters from Oposhnya was traveling to different countries.

The samples of ancient pottery have been survived in many villages of Poltava Oblast. In one where my grandparents had lived, I found items with unique paintings and enamels, interesting decorating techniques. This beautiful Ukrainian crockery has been with me about 17 years. It had graced my old flat, the first workshop, and then migrated to the new office.


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Since the first trip to Oposhnya, much time had passed. I managed to visit Japan, to discover a lot and to learn a lot . After meeting with the masters of Nippon, I learned some intricacies of the ceramics production process, learned how to click better with the material.

Now I use ceramics mostly in the product design. In our workshopб we developed the collections of lamps, crockery, tiles, wall panels.

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When a bowl or vase starts appearing in your hands, you have to be completely focused on it, otherwise nothing will.
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For many years ceramics has become an integral part of both my work and myself.

When people ask me about a "favorite" thing among created ones, it is very difficult to answer. Each object is your emotion, captured in clay, a kind of state you live that moment.

Good memories connect me with the lamp Bubency. The concept came spontaneously. In the museum, I saw the unusual buttons on an embroidery. The authentic form was amazing! After a while, I saw little jingles on an antique fair among the mountains of coins, crosses, amulets for the second time. I took it as a sign. Moreover, sellers told me about the history of the object (they were used for jewelry). I was inspired and drew a sketch of the future lamp in a car. The day after, we launched the project with a ceramist.

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My passion for pottery has grown into an entire gallery – «Sergey Makhno Gallery» (the space where "ideas live", opened in February 2016). But I know it is just the beginning of a long journey. Many new ceramic discoveries will wait for me in the future!

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9 a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p r s t u v w y z і а б в г д ж и к л м н о п р с т У ф ч э я

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