Karina Contini

A devoted mother and ‘accidental’ artist captures memories of family life in clay, to give them a new home.

“My fingerprint is on every piece that I make”. That’s how Karina Contini sums-up her handcraft,  ceramic pieces that are cozily familiar in form and deeply personal at once. As we later discovered, the fingerprint is just one of the ways her pieces capture a healthy obsession with ceramics, household life and story making.

Karina didn’t start an artist. In 2009, she gave up a 15-year career as cabin crew to spend more time with her son Tommy, then recently diagnosed with autism. One day, while shopping for construction materials for a house project, Karina happened on a flyer offering pottery classes. It was the start of a pursuit that quickly developed into a a surplus of pieces that took over their home. She needed to make room for more.

“Giving them up demanded a lot of therapy” Karina told us, in a way that made the pain palpable. With work, she was able to part with them and continue developing her singular technique, and  marry ceramics and her passion for family life.

Karina first shapes her tableware and pottery as simple, familiar forms—perfect vehicles for evoking household life. But then she layers in stories, working the surface through innocently shaped scales and imprints of antique lace and table linen. The result are heartfelt, cozily domestic pieces that “carry cherished memories to new homes.”

Recognition Karina’s craft is steadily growing. In Argentina, leading designers and publications regularly feature her work, and this year Instagram designated Karina as one of Argentina’s top designers.

The accolades are nice, she says, but nothing compares with the feeling of preserving family stories for generations to. come.

Nonna Giovaninna

In the late 1800s, in Valle Mosso, Giovaninna Canale was very excitedly and happily engaged when, with few days to go to the wedding date, the groom-to-be vanished. Heart-broken, and probably feeling ashamed, she packed her still unused trousseau and relocated to Argentina.

Happily, Giovaninna was eventually able to rebuild her life, marry and grow a family. Untold happy days later, Vero Palazzi, Giovaninna and nonno Palazzi’s granddaughter, came to Karina with a piece of lace from that original bridal set, to capture her grandmother story and pass it on to her own children.

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