Natalia Gruszecka is a designer of glass and ceramics. Her favourite medium is porcelain, from which she crafts handmade practical items such as cups, mugs and vases. Gruszecka created the ENDE studio with fellow designer Jakub Kwarciński.
Designer of glass and ceramics using mostly porcelain. She hand-makes cups, mugs, and vases. Together with the designer James Kwarcińskim she created ENDE Studio.
The artist, who hails from Lublin, is a graduate of Lublin’s College of Art and the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław, where she majored in Ceramic Design.
Since 2011 Gruszecka has been running a workshop and design studio which is connected to a ceramics gallery in the Nadodrze district of Wrocław. One of her most famous designs is her porcelain doll head cups, the idea for which came about during work experience at the Ćmielów Porcelain Factories. It was in a storeroom there that she found a pre-war mould for casting porcelain dolls (these dolls were produced in the borderland region). And thus Gruszecka’s Tête à tête cups were born, cast from an antique mould in the shape of a doll’s head. The cups come in several forms: white or black, with classic, gold-plated or patinated handles.
It was also in Ćmielów that Gruszecka first encountered porcelain. She instantly fell in love with the medium, but adds that it is a technologically demanding material. “It needs to be heated to over 1000 degrees. In such small workshop conditions, it becomes possible to create a special type of porcelain called Bone China, with wich Natalia Gruszecka works. You also have to keep everything scrupulously clean in order to retain the porcelain’s whiteness. What’s more, around 30 percent ends up as waste,” says Gruszecka. This is one of the reasons why, she had no opportunity work with porcelain when she was a student.
It’s an incredible feeling for a ceramicist to come across such a refined material, says Gruszecka. I once did experiments and successfully managed to get paper-thin translucent pieces. It appears to be a very impermanent material, but that’s not true. Porcelain is very fragile and susceptible to knocks, but it is also extremely resilient. It is possible to stand on a porcelain bowl and it won’t break.
Gruszecka adds that a specialist education is essential for the skilful handling of such a demanding medium. I graduated from what was at that time the only ceramics department in Poland to offer training in two areas: ceramic art and sculpture, and design. This allowed graduates to carry out projects single-handedly from start to finish.
Other than utterly functional ceramics sets, studio ENDE also excels at creating small decorative figurines, clearly influenced by the Cmielow factory tradition. Swimmer figurine captures all the delicacy of a young woman’s body, composed of slender lines, beautifully rendered in porcelain. Its whiteness is here contrasted with the golden shape of her swimming cap, glasses and a swimming suit, creating a remarkably fragile silhouette. Similar contrast was used for animal figures, both in the case of a pig and a rabbit, Gruszecka plays with gold accents, strategically placing them on the most characteristic or most surprising features of the animals. Her rabbit stares with its huge golden eye and the pig waves at the viewer with its surrealistic golden wings.
Natalia Gruszecka fully uses the skills acquired during her studies. She is very particular about her projects, that they must handmade and of the best quality. Her other pieces include porcelain mugs, cups and vases with asymmetrical folds, similar to that of crumpled paper. Her favourite medium to work with is porcelain. To date she has not entered any competitions.
- 2015, 2014: Polish Design in the Middle, Dutch Design Week and Concordia, Poznan
- 2013 — Las i Łąka (Forest and Meadow) - Polish design - Design Trade, Bella Center, Copenhagen
- 2012 — Alchemia naczynia (Dish alchemy) - Centrum kultury Agora, Wrocław
— The future is stupid – Łódź Design Festival, Łódź
- 2010 — Przegląd szkół (School reviews) - Łódź Design Festival, Łódź
Author: Katarzyna Zacharska, August 2013, translation: Garry Malloy. Updated AM, May 2016.
Natalia Gruszecka's Etsy website