Ela Das

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Ela Das


I am a self-taught sculptor whose passion for sculpture came late in life.

Trained as a psychologist and linguist (Oklahoma State University, 1987, University of Oregon, 1989, University of Washington, 1994), I worked in ceramics for 10 years before turning to sculpture. My first encounter with clay took place in the studio of ceramic artist Yannick Leider in Sopot, Poland, in 1979. After escaping the communist regime in Poland in 1981 and immigrating to the United States, my work experience was largely focused around education in a broad sense, including working as teacher with children and young adults. 

Upon returning to Poland after an 18-year-long immigration, I rediscovered ceramics while attending a painting class at a Warsaw Cultural Center. Being self-taught, I drew my ceramic knowledge and skills from books, YouTube, social media, open studios and domestic and foreign courses and workshops (ICSA, Kecskemet, Hungary, 2012; Cogorderos, prof. Toni Soriano, 2015; Jim Whalen and Jan Lee, North Carolina, 2016, the Florence Academy of Art, Italy, 2021).

It took me a while to muster my courage to present my work to a wider public at art fairs and galleries in Warsaw. My work has also been presented at some exhibitions (i.e. Studio 44 student exhibit at Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, 2022; group exhibit of the Small Ceramic Form Biennale in the sculpture category, Wejherowo, 2020, group exhibit at the Izabelin Cultural Center, 2013).

I am also the author of "The Little Potter," a creative clay projects manual for teachers and occupational therapy instructors. In 2013-2014, I ran an open studio, and from 2013 to March 2020, ceramics workshops for children at the British School Warsaw.

I started making sculpture less than 1,5 year ago during Covid pandemic. Ironically, the pandemic was my saving grace as it pushed me to venture into something new. Having the background in ceramics, I began by making ceramic heads and busts.

Soon enough, I realized that to fully explore figurative sculpture I had to learn more traditional sculpting methods. Last summer, I completed a figurative sculpture course at the Florence Academy of Art, which was a life-changing experience; however, it left a burning desire for more. 

During this academic year, I was able to use the studio of Prof. Adam Myjak of Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts as a guest-artist. At present, I am experimenting with resins and other casting materials, as well as different surface treatments. I am also drawn to larger scale projects. My ultimate goal is to create a balance between the creative and the technical to gain a greater freedom of artistic expression. I feel that each new sculpture moves me forward to being a better artist.

* This statement has been provided directly by the artist in association to their 16th International ARC Salon entries. This content has not been edited for typos or grammatical errors and has not been vetted for accuracy.