Two sisters and their ceramics. Meet Smugi Studio!

Ceramics have been created over the years using fire. This made its surface hard and the vessel itself durable. Nowadays, fire is being replaced by an electric kiln, heated by a flow of electricity. However, it is still possible to find ceramicists who use alternative firing techniques with live fire in their work. Sisters Marta and Ewa Krężelewska, who run the Smugi Studio, are also among them.

Until recently, they worked behind a desk, in large companies and lived in different countries. They had been interested in ceramics for many years and the moment came when they decided to join forces and turn their passion into a profession by opening, in early 2023, a ceramic studio near Warsaw.

In their work, the girls often use the firing technique “raku” – in Japanese meaning “to enjoy”. This is a unique method of making ceramics that has its roots in 16th-century Japan.

Raku involves the rapid firing of vessels over a live fire in a specially designed kiln. Theclay, which has a lot of grog in its composition, is fired at a relatively low temperature and then subjected to a thermal shock, quickly removed from the kiln or additionally placed in sawdust or cold water, Ewa describes.

‘This gives unpredictable and beautiful effects on the surface of the clay, which inspired us in the creation of Blur Studio. The process requires a lot of patience and humility, and not all vessels can withstand such harsh treatment. However, it gives a lot of satisfaction,” adds her sister, Marta.

The small objects they create are characterised by austerity and minimalism. The playfulness of textures and layers is noteworthy here. When choosing colours, they rely on contrasts and make visual references to streaks.

Marta and Ewa Krężelewskie, founders of Smuga Studio

Ephemerality, sensuality and ethereality are in the DNA of the brand. We are fascinated by the ephemerality of smoke trails, which can be observed for hours, so we want to translate this effect into our works. ‘We like minimalist decoration, natural, hazy and smoky colours, and whenever possible we leave the vessels unglazed so as to emphasise the beauty of the raw clay,’ Marta recalls.

The character of most of Smuga Studio’s works is inspired by smoke and fire and refers to the atmosphere of the hearth in which they are fired. Maintained in dark colours, the vessels in the DUST series bear clear traces of the natural processes that occur during firing, such as discolouration and smokiness. In the case of the HAIKU collection, abstract patterns are created by applying organic components to the heated surface of the objects, while the vessels coated with a special raku glaze have characteristic cracks and flashes .

We want the process of creation to be visible on the objects. In addition, we want to appeal to the different senses by creating uneven and tactile surfaces and combining them with intriguing, unobvious scents in the form of natural candles. Adding fragrance allows us to enhance the character of the collections in question and perceive our works on many levels,” explain the girls.

In addition to vessels fired using alternative methods, the studio also creates short series of utilitarian stoneware, characterised by a raw, ascetic Eastern aesthetic and a reference to the studio’s name. Smugi Studio’s products are available for sale online at, as well as in selected stationary concept stores in major Polish cities.

source: Smugi Studio

fot. Le Baiser Studio

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