Humans are often intrigued by slight abnormalities in their surroundings; not the glaringly obvious, but the subtly strange. Didem Mert’s ceramic design falls into this category. Her pots have a quirkiness that shines through without being blinding, a signature of the young ceramic designer. Mert adds humor to the functional basics of pottery. Some mugs have little knobby feet with pink slip squishing out of the sides like bubblegum while whiskey cups are “tipsy” and don’t have a foot to sit upright on. She also adds humor through titles, Lil’ Ol’ Yeller Creamer or Cut It Out! Mint Julep Snack Bowl.
Pinched, tactile surfaces are paired with delightfully smooth, burnished terra sigillata surfaces. The pots are adorned with simple shapes: circles, squares, ovals, and dots. The fragmentation of the surface decoration through color changes, luster application, and line acts as a way to increase the level of subtle detail within the seemingly simple pieces. Lines incised into the clay act as a framework for color blocking or as a way of framing food on a dish.
One of the strongest draws of Mert’s work is its use of dualities, rough & smooth, opaque & translucent, and warm & cold. An exciting challenge of Mert’s work is pinpointing the origins and inspirations. There are simultaneous sensations of intergalactic design & old world Turkey, cubism & sea vessels, modern architecture & color field painting.
Mert earned her BFA from The University of Northern Kentucky in 2014 and is an MFA candidate at Edinboro University. Mert was named by CFile as one of the 15 Potters to Watch in 2016.