In Conversation With Esther Suave
In Conversation With
HAN-CHIGA’s co-founder, Roxy, caught up with the German, Sicily-based, multi-talented Esther Suave. We worked with Esther to create our beautiful limited edition stoneware collection - including handmade cups, mugs, and teapots. She lives a unique life filled with her various passions and is as real as they get. We hope this interview will inspire you, as much as it inspired us…
R: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you ended up in Sicily?
E: I’m an artist/photographer from Berlin and spent most my life roaming and exploring the world.
Skating and surfing became a central part of my life and Berlin was only missing one thing for me - the ocean - so 7 years ago I decided to move into my van full-time.
My partner is Sicilian, so we wanted to visit his family for around 2-3 months and due to lockdown we’ve stayed here over a year. It’s been a great gift for me because I could dedicate all this lockdown time to creating ceramics, and it’s kept me sane.
R: You seem to be wearing multiple hats (work- and life- wise), what does a day in the life of Esther look like?
E: I got into the “bad habit” of starting my day with the very healthy Italian breakfast (brioche filled with sweet ricotta and a foamy cappuccino) from our local coffee legend “Pippo”. If the wave forecast is good, I rush to the sea for some surf and try to spend the whole day by the sea.
If there are no waves, I open the doors of my ceramic studio, start wedging clay and throw some ordered pieces or create freely. Ceramics give you some rhythm and schedule because there are certain things that have to be done at the right time. I love my little studio, it’s right at a baroque piazza, a local meeting point where people pass by and come in to watch or have a chat. Some days I I put my stool out on the sunny sidewalk, sand pieces and watch the everyday life and curiosities.
After a classical Sicilian lunch I spend my time skating or hiking to flatten the hunchback I’m cultivating over the pottery wheel :) It’s also the time of the day I realise photoshoots or video productions.
After sunset you can find me in the studio again, preparing new glaze formulas, trimming pieces or peeking into the kiln far too early to see how glazed pieces turn out.
Esther creating the spout to our limited edition tea pots.
R: You work in cinema, you are an amazing photographer and a ceramics artist! How do you split your time between these and where do you find inspiration for each?
E: *hehe* I think I’m pretty bad at that whole “splitting time” thing. Days always feel like they don’t have enough hours in them. When I was younger, I believed I should choose one thing and try to be extraordinary at it.
With the years I realised that I love trying new things too much and there are too many amazing possibilities to limit myself like that. I’m extremely curious and passionate and when I’m stuck in my creative progress I try something new or switch my medium.
Sometimes it’s not obvious right away, but everything I’ve learnt along the way, the time I’ve dedicated to each and the different things I do, influence and benefit each other.
I’m sometimes pretty hard on myself and to try out different things, to stay versatile and open and to move out of my comfort zone helps me to remain playful and gentle in my personal and creative progress and gain confidence.
R: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
E: I guess I’m not the only one that is having a hard time getting up these days. Finding hope and energy to start the day, especially with everything being so unsure and unpredictable, is a challenge, especially for freelancers and artists.
Rituals get me out of bed. For example, our dog Saki, perfect waves, an oat-milk cappuccino or a cup of tea (love your Detox tea), the aroma of toasted bread, to know that I can create even in the midsts of a total lockdown, to have clay waiting for me and to have my loved ones close to me.
R: If you had to send a message to all of humanity, what would the message say?
E: Check in on each other. Find what you love, take care of it and create your life around it. Give your friends the chance to love you - the real you, the fragile you, you’ll be surprised how we all share the same struggles. (It’s actually the most scary and fierce thing to do.)
Create your own rituals and take the time and rest you need. Share your knowledge with compassion and passion, and stay curious!
Working with Esther has been a dream come true for us. Her work ethic and passion made the process efficient, inspiring and enjoyable. Although we never met Esther in real life, it feels like we've known her for years . We hope to continue working together for the years to come and visiting her in Sicily for some tea (or wine) around a crackling fire place.
Thank you, Esther, for being a part of the HAN-CHIGA community and making beautiful tableware for our customers.
To connect with Esther:
We will continue introducing you to extraordinary people and expanding the HAN-CHIGA community. We hope you find inspiration in this series of conversations.
Photographs provided by Esther Suave