TABLEWARE BY CERAMIC DESIGNER FATY LY

Senegales ceramics designer Faty Ly conceptualizes each of her designs from her studio in Dakar, Senegal. She draws inspiration from aspects of Senegalese culture including people and nature. Here is our exclusive interview with ceramics designer Faty Ly as she takes us through her artistic journey, her inspiration, and the importance of gold in her creative process.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR PATH TO A CAREER IN DESIGN?

DESCRIBE YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

FL: Most of the time it starts with ideas collected based on images, art pieces, or usual objects. I start by drawing or making a maquette. I started both Nguka or Toile de Korghgo by drawing then applying these to porcelain shapes. The final drawings are sent to a graphic designer specialized in tableware to make the templates. This stage is followed by the silkscreen-printing process before being applied to the porcelain shapes like plates, cup, teapot, etc. and then fired in a kiln at around 800C. The first batch of prototypes is produced to correct all minor defects before launching the production.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO SELECT THE MATERIALS AND DESIGNS?

FL: I was drawn to use porcelain material as an artist would use a canvas. It is a very fine yet strong material with a glossy finish that enables me to tell stories with the silkscreen-printing technique.  For the designs, the first collection named Nguka was inspired by a black and white portrait. I am fascinated by the 1950’s Senegalese women’s portraiture. When I look at them, I have so many questions for the muses and I guess redesigning their portraits was the best way to get to know them. Nguka was designed to pay tribute to all these women for their beauty, strength, and courage.

WHY USE GOLD?

FL: Gold and fabrics are fine materials present in my context, at different stages of a woman’s life. Gold is probably the most precious material for the Senegalese people. The most ancient and sophisticated piece, known as the Rao pectoral, which was made with refined techniques, has been excavated in Saint-Louis, north of Senegal. People are still questioning the maker of such a piece because of its sophistication and detail. Senegal is also known for its smiths; many have traveled to teach their crafts throughout Africa and Europe. In Senegal, gold is considered the holiest among all metals and it empowers women. It is also offered to a woman to celebrate life stages, like her wedding.

In my Hal Pulaar (Tukulor) culture, women wear heavy twisted gold earrings known as “dibés”, they indicate social status and womanhood. Women also wear gold as adornment on the forehead in various shapes and designs, not to mention the diverse designs for earrings, pendants, bracelets, and rings. Therefore, using gold for the Nguka collection was a sign to uplift the collection but mostly to reminisce about the gold art tradition in the Senegalese culture.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DESIGN ERA?

CERAMIC DESIGNER FATY LY’S FAVORITES

FL: So far, I would say that I appreciate the Nguka cup and saucer for its graphic details on both cup and saucer. There is an element of surprise, which creates an experience in both pieces. The next step will probably head to food. I leave the rest to the sound of my internal voice that whispers to me. On 54kibo, I love Simone Brewster’s bold jewelry pieces. I also appreciate her 15-collection of individual cutlery; it is bold, sensuous, and provoking!

Faty Ly’s tea sets, plates and platters make exquisite gifts for newlyweds or housewarmings. Explore the collection below.

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$416
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$268
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$416
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$348
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$778
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$258
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$250
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