Words by Erin Grant
The birth-place of Tatiana Dobos’ clay journey began in a Romanian village called Cucuteni. This place represents one of the primordial hearths of clay-making in Europe. It is also here that Tatiana’s ceramic teacher, Ionela Mihuleac, was born. Working alongside Ionela, Tatiana learned about the secrets of clay. During this time she also embraced the importance and benefits of living more authentically, finding meaning in simple things, and the value of being in intimate connection with nature while respecting the materials used. She notes how Cucuteni had a transformative effect on her, ‘It is here that I learned where to look for inspiration and where to turn to when feelings of emptiness embrace me.’
As a child Tatiana had an intuitive understanding of the natural world, and her imagination flourished, allowing her to create beings which seemed to take on a life of their own. She reflects on her time foraging and building from things the earth had discarded, ‘I used to gather things that caught my eye around my parents’ house. Pebbles, wood sticks, metal screws, empty cans, animal bones, buttons, all different kinds of grains and beans. When the collection was large enough, I would spend hours carefully placing them in patterns and shapes, until there was not one individual object left, but an entity with its own character.’ Tatiana also found that during this time she was fully present, an indicator of the importance that these acts of play would have on her later in life.
Delving into emotions was not something which Tatiana was encouraged to do in the society she grew up in, as it was understood to be a sign of weakness. The inner turmoil of this would later go on to inform her artistic journey and clay would provide a therapeutic release. ‘Being quite a sensitive person, since early childhood I remember experiencing lots of feelings, of so many different kinds. I did not know what to do with them, nor did I receive any guidance from the adults around me. I found solace in nature and creativity. I started to create objects with what I could find in my environment to transpose my emotions into the outer world and make some sense out of them. I was never a loud person, but always felt the need to set free my inner battles. Luckily, I found clay as an instrument of expression.’
Read the full interview in The Spring Edit, on shelves now