WOMEN OF NOTE:
Berta-Blanca T. Ivanow | Artist
Berta-Blanca T. Ivanow resides in a small town in the countryside of Spain, nestled between the sea and the mountains, creating a product of her environment and perceptive mind. A self-described sculptress, Berta-Blanca’s multi-faceted creative pursuits seem to have no limit with fashion, film direction, sculpture and abstract painting filed under her vast skillset. Although no matter the discipline, Berta-Blanca’s approach remains the same. Acting on impulse and observation, informed by intricate moments of life and living in its most pure state, she describes her eternal muse - the human body - as “a vehicle given to us to experience life”.
The Barcelona born artist studied in top institutions in London, New York and Florence, assisted renowned abstract painter Pat Lipsky and figurative sculptor Barney Hodes, finding many mediums of expression. Forever experimenting with the world around her, Berta-Blanca employs organic materials, sand, ash, hair, clay and pigments sourced locally from some of Spain’s most ancient deposits. The product that is realized engages a wild and primal presence, softened by feminine curvature and creases. Communicating with the earth and her hands was always Berta-Blanca’s natural path.
Berta-Blanca invites us into her countryside atelier, dressed in the 03 Set in Lake Blue and 05 Set in Smoke Pink.
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Date: July 2021
Where are you from and where are you now?
I am from Barcelona, Spain. Now living in a little town called Teià in the countryside.
When is your favourite time of day?
Can you tell us a little about your home, what is the view like?
My home is wide and open, ochre marble, dark wood and creamy walls, full of sunlight and many books. I can gaze the sea and have the mountains behind.
You began your studies in womenswear design but soon moved toward sculpture and abstract painting. Do you apply similar practises between fashion and sculpture?
Truly. It’s the same Me creating in any field. In my practice the human body is present in many ways. Specially the female body. Portrayed as a pictorial representation, a performing organism, a sculptural manifestation, a vehicle given to us to experience life.
As a fashion student and artist, what is your approach to dressing?
I seek comfort and warmth. Usually dress with natural fibres such us linen, cotton, silk. From Monday to Friday I wear the same outfit, a workwear suit I got from Nepal and a pair of old white trainers.
You create beautiful ceramic sculptures, what originally drew you to working with clay?
My need to be in contact with earth and communicate with my hands.
You use a variety of natural materials in your practise including palm tree ash, sand, clay, water, and your own hair. What is your approach to choosing materials?
I always try to find a suitable medium to communicate my thoughts. It will always be a relationship between more than one material to create a dialogue and generate new synergies.
Your clay sculptures ooze an essence of the human form, do you have certain people or references that inspire you?
I’m drawn to organic forms that sprout form nature. Such us seeds, a belly hosting life, interconnected roots that nurture each other, eroded stones shaped by time...
You also work as a film director on video-art projects. Can you tell us what influenced your passion for film and what sets it aside from sculpture?
I felt the need to communicate something in motion. A picture that was not fixed or a solid object but a feeling that fluctuates.
What places spark inspiration for you?
Anywhere I can hear the earth pumping. Sit at night and observe the immense dark sky with bright etoiles, wake up with the rooster’s chants, smell the perfume of wet soil after a heavy rain, lay down in a nest of straw, bathe my body in cold sweet water.
Has there been a significant moment of your past that has informed where you are today?
Definitely covid times had made me realise how much nature is needed. I left the city and feel so much connected now.
How would you describe your creative process?
Now it ́s shifting. I enjoy the process much more because it ́s slower, meditative and sort of sedative. Before I was a bit eager to see the final result and got a bit anxious on the way.
Where do you enjoy spending downtime?
In the countryside, with goats and possibly a river or lake.
How do you prepare for a good night’s rest?
I burn palo santo before going to sleep.
How do you stay grounded?
Creating and being in my studio gives me peace and focus.
What are you hopeful for?
Becoming a mother.
What do you dream of when sleeping?
Lately I envision things that will happen around me.
Photographed by Max Larruy.
Interviewed by Montana Purchase for Deiji Studio’s Field Notes