Sevak Zargarian: A Maker’s Story
October 6, 2016 Philippa
Autumn feast using Sevak Zargarian tableware

I first came across Sevak Zargarian’s work at Top Drawer, one of the UK’s biggest interiors trade shows, in January. I’d seen Sevak’s work featured in the pre-show marketing material and I wasn’t dissapointed when I got the chance to view it (and touch it!) in real life. Not only is Sevak’s terrazzo-like work beautiful, colourful and pleasingly out-of-the-ordinary to look at, it’s also such a pleasure to hold and use. The quality of each piece really shines through and the tactile surface of the polished porcelain reminds you of the fact that each and every piece is made by hand; with the surface hand sanded and polished until it is marble-smooth.

I was so thrilled when Sevak agreed to be one of the first makers to sell with us, back before the site was even finished and I’m now delighted again that we have just added to the range of Sevak’s work we sell, so that you can shop the whole Unearthed Interiors collection here.

When I met Sevak, I was so fascinated to hear about what inspires his work and the process of making his pieces, so after the very happy coincidence of showing on the stand next to him at The London Design Fair at the end of September, I thought it would be a good idea to catch up with him again . . .


Hi Sevak! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer a few questions and tell us more about your work! Let’s start with an easy one (or maybe it’s difficult?!) Which 3 words do you think could be used to best describe your work?

Hi! thanks for asking me – it’s always a pleasure to be asked to talk about what I make! I’d say my work is . . . Modern, Intriguing and Tactile

I’d agree! Can you tell us a little bit about your collection, including the inspiration behind it?

My current Unearthed Interiors collection, is a range of interior products and accessories, handmade in my garden studio. So called because the act of sanding the surface ‘unearths’ the random pattern created through the process of casting. The inspiration was pure process. Within ceramics there is something called ‘grog’, which is ground-up fired ceramics added back into the clay for strength, support and texture. It only comes in either white or sand coloured and I had seen a lot of work using coloured clays and white grog, giving it a lovely surface pattern, but never the other way around. So I decided to explore that in my final year of my degree and made my own coloured grog, adding it into white clay. From there it was just a natural progression to my current style, where the grog is much larger for a more graphic surface pattern.

Can you describe the journey you took that led you to specialise in ceramics? And what drove you to choose this particular medium above any others?

I’ve always been creative, even as a kid and loved art and design. I did an Art & Design Foundation at Central Saint Martins after my A-levels, specialising in 3D Design. One of my tutors was a ceramicist herself, and brought in some porcelain paper clay for me, which I made coral-like structures out of copper rods smothered in clay. It all went horribly wrong in the kiln; they all melted and merged together, but I loved it. It was strangely addictive. After that, I had one option left on my UCAS form for university, and decided to apply for BA Ceramic Design at CSM. I had a great interview, and decided I would rather spend three years learning as much as I could about one material, rather than learning not enough about a range of materials.

It sounds like it all fell into place just as it should be! And now you’re set up with your some studio space to make your work. Can you tell us a bit about your work space and how it is set-up to suit you?

It’s a purpose built studio in the back of the garden my dad and I built. One third of it is my space, where I have two benches against the wall, one with a sink that I use for sanding and polishing, and another bench where I cast my work and make the coloured shards.

I’m so fascinated by the process you use to make your pieces. Can you describe exactly what it involves?

I’ve played around with this technique and material in many ways previously, I’ve fine-tuned it to my current style using parian, a type of porcelain similar to marble once polished that is also slightly translucent. To make the pieces, I colour some parian slip, which is liquid clay, and pour it out so it dries as a sheet. I fire those in my electric kiln and break it up with a rolling pin – a great stress reliever! Once broken, I sieve the shards to take out all the dust and smaller pieces and mix them into more parian slip. This mixture of white slip and coloured shards is poured into plaster moulds, left for a certain amount of time so the plaster can absorb the moisture from the slip and is then poured out leaving a skin of clay where it meets plaster, a process called slip-casting. Once dry the forms are fired to 1000ºC and sanded down to ‘unearth’ the random surface pattern created through the casting process. Fired once more to a higher temperature of 1250ºC to bring out the true colour, they are polished with a diamond pad to give it a marble smooth finish.

Wow – it sounds like a lot of fun! Can you describe how your work evolved into its current form and what has inspired the direction you’ve taken?

I started off making jars using smaller sized pieces of coloured grog with traditional slip-casting methods. From there I reversed it, and used much larger shards of coloured grog and sprayed the outside of the work to reveal the sharpness of the grog. However the inside was smooth and sanded, and intrigued by the pattern, I designed a collection of tableware to make use of the random pattern of the coloured grog dispersed within the body of the clay. Earlier this year, I designed a new collection of interior products using a new material, parian, which gives the surface a much deeper interest and very tactile finish. The new collection is more refined and has a stronger aesthetic, making better use of the random pattern.

What advice would you give to people just starting out or interested in pursuing their ambitions to become designers or makers?

Make mistakes – they are the best way to learn and to find new, unexpected ways of making and finishing. Believe in your work – if you don’t, then you can’t expect others to.

Are there any craftsmen or designers who have particularly inspired or influenced you or your work?

I’m a big fan of Max Lamb’s work, especially his genius use of materials, really making the core material stand out and dictate the finished product.

This might be a tricky one to decide on, but can you tell us, what is your favourite piece of design?

It is a tricky one! I’ve always loved the Diamond Chair by Harry Bertoia.

What style of home décor do you find the most exciting at the moment and what style are you drawn to when decorating your own home?

Personally I like the minimalist look, using honest materials such as wood, stone, marble, natural textiles and even concrete. Using furniture as stand alone pieces that can hold their own without need for extra furnishing.

Finally, what’s next for Sevak Zargarian?

I shall be working on making some pendant lights in my new material, as well as adding to the range, and introducing new colours!

Well, I love the sound of pendant lights and new colours so I’m very excited to see those when they’re ready! Thank you Sevak for talking with us and sharing your very interesting journey.

Photo Credits: Product Photos by Yeshen Venema

If you’d like to own a little piece of Sevak’s beautiful work, his handmade Unearthed Interiors Collection is now available to buy via The Maker Place and to celebrate the addition of new pieces, we’re offering 10% off all of his work when you use the code WELCOME10 at the checkout.

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Comments (5)

  1. Antonia Ludden 2 years ago

    Wow, such lovely unusual pieces – and fascinating to see how they are made. Thanks for sharing x

    • Author
      Philippa 2 years ago

      Thanks for reading Antonia! Glad you like the pieces x

  2. How beautiful – and they certainly look very tactile #homeetc

  3. I love these and the photographs are stunning 🙂 So unusual and very stylish. Thanks for sharing & linking up! Jess xx


  4. What a fantastic process — and the end result is stunning! They almost look edible don’t they? Like white chocolate and smarties!! Fab — thanks so much for sharing 🙂 Caro #HomeEtc

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