Adrianne Ngam attended her first pottery class last year, but in a way she’d been laying the groundwork for much longer. “I went to school for architecture,” she says, “so I came in with a knowledge of joinery and connection.” Her latest structures, built to house bouquets rather than humans, go on display Dec. 2, when Ngam, under the name Mudmouth Ceramics, plans to host her inaugural ceramics show at Wheelhouse Clay Studio on Divisadero Street, near where she lives in San Francisco. The collection, called “Fauna,” is a menagerie of creatures, some fantastical and others recognisable: Winged scarab- and moth-shaped vases look as though they popped off an anatomical chart and were flattened down to a few key planes but rendered in geometric detail. A koi fish and an arching alligator demonstrate Ngam’s engineering know-how. “Before I even touch the clay, I typically spend weeks 3-D modelling [the designs] on the computer,” she explains. Then, like a tailor patterning a custom suit, Ngam creates templates of each part, tracing them onto earthen slabs, which she assembles into her beasties. “Fauna” will be on view Dec. 2 through Dec. 10, mudmouthceramics.com.
Ngam’s pieces reference tattoos (the gator on the left), Chinese kites (the cicada on the right), Balinese mythology and Sicilian decorative arts. Courtesy of Mudmouth Ceramics.