Pierced and embroidered, Silver Sentimenti’s ceramics are dressed à la haute-couture!
Stepping into Silver Sentimenti’s atelier is stepping into a world bubbling with creative energy. Newly settled in his farmhouse turned workshop in the countryside southwest of Paris, Silver explains the imaginative and artistic processes that are the foundation of his work.
How would you describe your approach to art?
First and foremost, there is my principle medium: clay—its texture and color, the way it reflects or absorbs light, the way it reacts with different glazes. But through my background in the fashion industry, what drives me is finding the right dialog between the clay and its adornments: coated in glaze or left nude, embroidered with strips of leather, bejeweled with metal ornaments, clothed in feathers…
Can you tell us a little about your experience in fashion?
I grew up in Italy in a dressmaker’s studio, surrounded by swaths of fabric and patterns and cadenced by fittings with clients. After dabbling in drawing and then studying ceramic sculpture and scenography at the School of Beaux Arts in Bologna, I felt naturally drawn to the world of Haute Couture. I moved to Paris in 1997, where I created costumes for cinema and opera and worked for fashion houses such as Dior and Givenchy.
How did the two worlds of fashion and ceramics collide for you?
In 2014, I had a desire to reconnect with ceramics, so I took courses in the techniques of wheel throwing, and it was galvanizing. Very quickly, I felt a kind of organic symbiosis between the two worlds. It all just came together for me.
What are your preferred materials?
My clay comes from a variety of different sources depending on the effect I want to achieve, but I mostly work with stoneware, especially chamotte clay, because I love the gritty texture and the strength it exudes. I mix my own colors—color is very personal to me—and integrate the color into the clay itself instead of applying it as a slip. I also create my own glazes with manganese and other elements, mixing them like a chemist. Some of my pieces have brass or gold leaf decor. As for the “dressings”, I embroider with leather strips, create rigging with string, and then add small metal disks, bits of coral, tiny bells, whatever the piece seems to call for.
What do you find most challenging?
I am constantly experimenting with new forms and new creative universes. The challenge is to explore each universe fully, to push the limits of artistic creation. My biggest problem is finding the time.
Where do you see yourself going with your art now?
There are so many different avenues I want to explore! I feel an appetite for larger formats and am experimenting with new materials. You will have to stay tuned on ateliernovō to see what’s next!