My name is Krzysztof Bocian. I am a ceramist and designer. I gained my experience thanks to many years of work and experiments. In my studio, I create ceramics that combine good craftsmanship with a unique design. I am stubborn and thorough. I value openness and honesty with other people. I invite you to learn about my history and the origin of the Stratus brand (reads about 6 minutes).
Like my namesake, I could start singing the story: "I wanted to be a sailor, I wanted to have tattoos." I did not become a sailor, because, after a year at the Maritime University in Gdynia, I decided that I knew roughly what this profession looks like and that thank you, tattoos have not appeared on my body yet. Finally, I finished Printing at the Warsaw University of Technology and worked in this industry for several years. As a designer/designer of packaging and other inventions from cardboard, I did a great job. It was a bit technical, a bit creative. Unfortunately, the constantly tightened task-time screw finally causes material wear, and I have worn out. Savings allowed me to open my own ceramic workshop. For years I was involved in the production of custom ceramics, I gained experience and knowledge. I created a small series of my own dishes. After six years, I was able to create what I can call my first big success. It is the end of 2018 and the Stratus brand is created.
Let's go back for eight years. My ceramic story starts very normally. In every story, you have to start with something. Preferably from scratch.
Zero. I knew so much about ceramics when I went to my first ceramics workshop. I was looking for a new hobby. In music-making, I wasn't doing great, because maybe I have too low a musical level or lack of determination to practice. For this, it is hard to train the drums when living in a block. Sailing is a great sport and a way to travel, but only possible seasonally and is associated with trips. I used to climb, so with a little commitment, it could be possible to reach some satisfying level ... Well, I could exchange a lot of these passions, interests, but they need to do something creative, tangible forced me to look further than what I already knew. I used to glue plastic models together and it was delicious fun, requiring mastery of the workshop and giving great satisfaction, but what to do with these models later? Put on the shelf to collect dust? Well, no ... it was about something creative, but more useful. That's how I found myself at the ceramic workshops where I made my first manual improvements. I got sucked in and discovered that I can do the same in my home, but then I have to take it somewhere to burn, which I did, watching out for holes in the road and carefully packing my shells to get them in one piece. Then came the aforementioned professional crisis and nagging questions "how to live? what to do?". which I did, watching out for holes in the road and packing my shells meticulously so that they could come in one piece. Then came the aforementioned professional crisis and nagging questions "how to live? what to do?". which I did, watching out for holes in the road and packing my shells meticulously so that they could come in one piece. Then came the aforementioned professional crisis and nagging questions "how to live? what to do?".
Making ceramics, of course - such a decision was made, I signed a contract for a place, and somehow it went. The word "somehow" is important in this story, because at the beginning it went not so much "somehow" as any. I will stop here for a moment to mention that I had no technical preparation and knowledge about the manufacture of ceramics, I barely licked the subject. It's one thing - technical. The second, maybe even more important is the fact that I did not have any artistic or design preparation. For years I surrounded myself with objects I didn't attach much importance to appearance, they were often bland. This was due to shopping habits taken from home, focused more on economy and functionality. Design is a slippery matter, it is a matter of taste, and "tastes are not discussed" (now I know
So you had to learn technology and design. It takes about five years for students, and the whole is crowned with a diploma, which at art colleges is a project, usually materialized. I like to think about my way in this way, and about the vessels of the Stratus collection as the culmination of this several-year period, which was a period of trial and error, searching, learning techniques and materials. Ceramics offer great possibilities for expression. I was able to find in it what is most compatible with me and my sense of aesthetics. Persistence and consistency helped, and my wife also supported me. Without her, I would not be here and there would be no Stratus brand.
How was the Stratus pattern created?
The nature of this collection: its rawness, texture, as is often the case, was created a little by accident, but as consistent with my thinking about design, it immediately established itself in my head. It was 2014 and I was preparing my work for the 11th International Biennale of Ceramics of the KERAMOS Association entitled "GAME" and I was looking for a way to get an interesting, raw, a little dark texture and colors for ceramic bottles that are part of my sculpture. Thanks to various experiments I was able to find material that gave exactly what I wanted. I burned it all in a very interesting technique - RAKU.
After the exhibition, I continued to do what I did every day - I carried out my clients' orders, ran ceramic workshops, and created my own series of dishes, but these did not satisfy me enough. Time was running, no one knows where, and I worked with the feeling that I still do not realize the dream that sprouted at the beginning of this road. Of course, this dream was to create your own original style, your collection of dishes, and the pattern on my sculpture tempted with its rawness and darkness.
Somewhere around 2016, very slow but consistent project activities began. The technology of producing utensils is very different from the RAKU technique, which is a rather artistic method. Before I started designing the first vessel from the Stratus collection, i.e. a 400 ml mug, I had to make a series of rather complicated tests, ranging from mass dyeing, development of the technique of creating a model and plaster mold, finishing and firing. The whole process took as many as 2 years, but thanks to the noticeable progress consisting of small steps, I knew that I would finally reach my goal. And indeed, it worked! In September 2018, I debuted with my first mug under the Stratus brand and met with a very warm welcome. Economical, raw design and original,
The name "Stratus" refers to the clouds that belong to this dark group. I don't build any philosophy around this name. In turn, I put quite a lot of emphasis on the brand's philosophy, which, as a rule, operates fairly and ecologically, which cares about the quality of production and work. I set a goal that in addition to creating a collection of unique dishes, I will build a great team working on fair terms and in a good atmosphere. I can't imagine building a brand without such a policy. I am currently developing the collection with new dishes and colors, improving technology, and building a team of people around the brand. I believe that what I do makes sense, and designing and solving technological problems in my studio gives me great satisfaction. If you ask me where I see myself in 5 years, I will answer: "I don't know".