Archetypal Forms – Objects For Life Series by Humble Matter

Humble Matter is the name that Brooklyn-based ceramicist John Born gave to his design brand characterized by gray and beige ceramic pieces with capricious organic shapes and a deliberate crackled finish that grants his works an ancient yet trendy air. Importantly, Humble Matter’s intricate designs are connected to the long-lasting tradition of modern artists like Brancusi, Giacometti, or Moore, who, inspired by the art of ancient cultures, sought to uncover the essential forms and forces of nature.

Born’s road to ceramic making arrived later on in his life since for 15 years he worked in the advertisement business and until 2012 decided to start experimenting with ceramics opening Humble Matter, located in a membership studio and community of ceramicists, in 2014. Over the years, Born has experimented with other mediums, such as drawing and painting, and has created a distinctive visual vocabulary characterized by repeated organic shapes that the artist considers to be “archetypal.” According to Jung’s psychological framework, those forms are innate or/and universal prototypes. For instance, through his works, Born tries to depict abstract concepts such as the “original” vessel.

Born’s clay works bring forth his appreciation for ancient and modern art as some of the pieces are named after ancient Greek vessel forms and others are inspired by the work of early modernist artists. Alternating negative and positive spaces, sober and monochromatic colours, and a playful approach to symmetry and proportion are all present in Born’s works.

Side by side with Born’s influences and his ongoing quest for creating “talismans that ground us in the magic of everyday objects and rituals in an increasingly disconnected world,” his work reveals the mind of a designer deeply committed to his craft and to the durability and quality of his pieces. His works are as much the result of a spiritual journey as they are of a relentless drive to experiment with materials and techniques.