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A picture of Nastia Calaca

Nastia Calaca

Ceramic artist

in artist, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Nastia Calaca, and I'm an independent ceramic artist from Ukraine, currently living and creating in Haarlem, the Netherlands.

Since childhood, I have always dreamt of becoming an illustration artist, creating intricate illustrations, reinventing beloved book characters, writing new versions of my favorite stories. But one day, while being in Summer Art School in Czech, I unexpectedly stumbled upon ceramics. We unconditionally fell in love and have never parted since.

Long ago, just after receiving my BFA, I started doing workshops for beginners - both kids and adults, in my teaching studio in Kyiv, which was one of a kind at that time.

Also, I have created a successful small ceramic brand, selling my works and putting smiles on people's faces worldwide since 2016. I consider my sculptures versatile and understandable, playful, sometimes humorous, and somehow narrative.

What hardware do you use?

I work exclusively in hand-building techniques - sculpting with slabs and coils, without using any specific machinery or molds, so my main tools are my own hands.

However, a slab roller Rodeveld makes my life much easier and a working process much faster; previously, I used a huge professional rolling pin, which now serves only as a decoration or a self-defense instrument if needed :)

And of course, a kiln - I have a small energy-saving top loader model with a capacity of 60L with a temperature range up to 1250C, from a German brand, Nabertherm. I have been using the same model for five years already, and so far, I'm satisfied with the quality and results.

I work primarily with underglazes, stains, and lead-free glazes, mainly from Amaco Brent.

I use good old paper and pencil, sometimes watercolor, to look for a perfect color palette or sketching.

Several times I tried to switch to Procreate, but it did not work out well, so now I use my iPad as a monitor, where I place any reference I'm working with.

For my working process videos, I use both timelapse on my iPhone 11 Pro and a Sony ZV-1.

For photoshoots, I use my Fujifilm X-T20 camera with two lenses - FUJINON 56mm 1.2 and 60mm 2.4 macro.

I send my works worldwide, using doublewalled cardboard boxes and protective foam cushions from Instapak, a real-life saver and a game-changer for sending fragile items.

And what software?

From time to time I use iMovie, but usually the built-in editors in Instagram, YouTube, Photos on the iMac etc. are pretty enough for my needs.

What would be your dream setup?

I recently started recording my working process, and I would like to invest in a more advanced computer and maybe a few more cameras to capture all the angles at the same time. As I plan to expand my portfolio with more complex sculptures, I want to buy a bigger (at least 200L) high-temperature, front-loading kiln to work with porcelain stoneware.

If I occasionally discover some buried pirate's treasure in my backyard, I will invest in a clay mixer/pug mill because recycling is not the most exciting part of the art process and takes a lot of time and muscle recovery.

Most importantly, I would like to find a new spacious studio with separate rooms: for storage, firing and a glazing zone, a dust-free clean space for photo shoots, doing the tax reports, and sipping some wine with customers and friends. On top of it all, a small cozy showroom would be a great addition and a real jackpot.