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Artist Miró van der Vloed on Queering Ceramics and Opening ‘Flood Studio’

We had the pleasure of speaking with artist Miró van der Vloed who opened up about his background and what lead to starting his business Flood Studio. Growing up with both parents practicing art, the clay wasn’t thrown far from the pottery wheel. Van der Vloed’s delicate, queer ceramic pendants have a unique charm to them, which transcends the boundaries of sculpture, artefact and jewellery.

Tell us a bit about yourself: what led to your interest in art and to where you are now?

It probably started with my name. My mom was so enthralled by the work of Joan Miró that she decided her first born would be named after him. Although his shoes would be near impossible to fill, I am reminded that a love for art has followed me around since my first day and will be with me on my last. It came as no surprise that after high school I pursued a BA in fine art at Michaelis from which I recently graduated (with distinction, for whatever that’s worth in the big, bad art world). I am currently focusing on growing my business and enjoying my break from academia. 

Could you expand on the the method or process of making your work? 

In my last two years of my degree I became interested in the queer potential that slip cast moulds hold. Although they can reproduce something perfectly, I was more interested in the infinite ways in which the ceramic object can buckle and break after leaving its plaster of Paris cocoon. I have also introduced the idea of human/animal hybridity into my method of making. Like a mad scientist (and with great excitement) I take various sections of slip casts and stitch them together in fantastical ways – Duckletonians are what I’ve decided my human/duck hybrids would identify as. After putting them together, I paint them and fire them in a kiln. After this they go through a glaze firing, giving them the delicious sheen that I’m obsessed with. A third firing is then optional, where the pendants can be tattooed with ceramic transfers or adorned with eight karat gold luster.

You’ve started a business, Flood Studio, congratulations! Can you tell us how this developed?

Originally, I made the pendants as gifts for friends and family, and as a break from the gloomy seriousness art production takes on when at art school. I started getting interest from strangers (my best memory of this was when – pre Covid-19 of course – someone bought a pendant off my neck while I was in a queue to get into an event). Although it is very much at the beginning stages, I am excited to nurture Flood Studio into something that could support me full time, as I could easily sit and make these all day.

Who are some people inspiring you right now? It can be a collective or individual, and not necessarily limited to the arts.

Rachel Kneebone is an incredible ceramicist whose work features more macabre and abstracted human forms than is present in my work, but whenever I see anything she’s produced I can’t wait to get back to the studio! Although it might be a tad cheesy, I am also greatly inspired by my parents. I am clearly biased in saying this, but my mom is my favourite ceramicist. She has taught me almost everything I know about ceramics and is the person I call whenever I can’t remember what temperature to set the kilns to. My dad is a brilliant and methodical mould maker and is one of the reasons I became interested in mould making as an artform rather than just a manufacturing process.

Is there something you’d like people to take away from your work? Perhaps a message or a thought that you’d hope is passed through?

FUN! I think the world as it is requires a ridiculous amount of imaginative play to make living in it bearable. I hope that people appreciate the queerness and care that I pour into my pendants, where the possibilities for being aren’t limited to binaries or societal norms.

It’s difficult to look forward when times are unpredictable, but where do you hope the next few months will lead you?

The future does seem to fog up when I think about it, but I am pushing through my self-concocted doubt and my goal in the upcoming months is to expand my range of pendants and find local retailers to stock them.  

Follow @flood_studio on Instagram.

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