While visiting Budapest a few years ago, Roger bought a street sign saying ‘Krasznai Utca’, or Krasznai Street. Not knowing exactly what it meant, he kept it next to his old kiln. He subsequently found out that ‘Krasznai’ literally means ‘from Kraszna’, a town in Hungary. Some time later, for an exhibition in Barcelona, he decided to hang his artworks outside, on an imaginary Krasznai street. He named his collection after the town, and so Krasznai ceramics was born. ‘I realize it’s not an easy name to remember. I’ve seen it written as Kraznai, Karszai, Kransai ... and I always find it funny!’ laughs Roger. Before setting up his studio, he spent several years studying and working in sculpture, ceramics and technical architecture, including a stint in Helsinki on a sculpture scholarship. On his return, he established his studio in Badalona, near Barcelona, and that is where he handmakes all his creations from start to finish. He relies heavily on a pool of creative friends to share ideas. However, his trademark ‘Arms&Crafts’ series came about almost by accident. During a summer vacation in Portugal, Roger found a toy arm poking out of the sand on the beach. He kept it in his studio, between vases and other objects, always within reach. At some point, he got the idea that he could paste arms onto a vase, thereby giving the vessel a humorous yet emotive quality. ‘I wouldn’t dare to say there is a deeper meaning behind “Arms&Crafts”,’ he now says. ‘What it does is put a smile on people’s faces.’ There may not be a deeper meaning, but the series definitely has a higher purpose, in that it draws people into the world of ceramics by showing that anything is possible. ‘It is a captivating form of artisanship,’ Roger enthuses, ‘with a lot of potential to unleash creativity. I strive to make people appreciate handmade objects that take time to produce, now that everything is digital.’ Gazing at his functional vessels with their little outstretched arms, we hear the words ‘Come closer’, ‘Hug me’ or ‘Hold me’.
THE NEW ARTISANS book (Thames and Hudson).
*images by Artur Muñoz.