It was a great honor to have had the opportunity to meet the inspiring sculptress; Katia Al Tal. She takes the energy of the Earth at its most fundamental clay level, infuses it with passion, molds it with vision and transforms it into magnificent sculptures. It is safe to say that her sculptures are as enchanting as she is.

Katia Al Tal at her studio

How did you start Sculpting?

I don’t count anymore but I think it was 25 years ago. The way I started was very funny. I was working on a play with my students in the theatre, and one of those old artists called me and said “Katia, you’re wasting your gift. You’re sculpting with human beings, you’re a sculptress. Let me teach you.” A week later he gave me clay and a few instructions on what I should and shouldn’t do. At night that day I decided to give it a shot. I started playing with the clay. Two or three hours have passed before I realized that I was absorbed into it. I spent the rest of the night playing with it and didn’t sleep. That is exactly how it all started.
After that night I started doing it on my free time, but I knew I was doomed. I knew that I will spend the rest of my life doing this; that I was addicted.
I remember that before I decided to showcase my work I used to sculpt in clay and then throw the piece in water. At the time, it was all about the process, and it still is. What I learned from sculpting is the process of creating.
Katia Al Tal monumental sculpture, 2016, Jordan

You said Sculpture was all about process, what does this process include?

My process starts with a feeling. Before that there is backstage process which happens while meditating, listening to music, seeing and living things, while being surrounded by the wilderness and maybe even while daydreaming. That is where I draw my inspiration from.

What style of are you most drawn to?

I am in love with the human body. I do many figurative sculptures and those of bones. I’m fascinated with bones I think it might be because they remind me of the prehistoric man, it is also our base and structure. Their shapes are both very organic and very harsh. I love creating harsh sculptures.

Katia Al Tal bronze sculpture, unknown title and date

I find it interesting that you work with materials that are anything but harsh but you are fascinated by harsh things.

Exactly. In the most harsh environments you find Buddhist Temples. I think us human beings, love a good challenge. We love being constrained by our surroundings. Some may argue that we don’t, but I believe that we do, because it takes us back to our prehistoric selves. It is humans’ collective memory.

Why sculpture?

Why sculpture? Because it’s three dimensional and it’s tough. I like tough things, I can do easy pieces but when I’m done I’ll feel like I haven’t done a thing at all. There has to be a challenge, and sculpting is very tough. I face a lot of problems while sculpting. I think another reason why I chose sculpting would be because of the psychological aspect of it. It is therapeutic to me.

What is your definition of art?

Everything that touches a person in an emotional, spiritual and intellectual way.
Katia Al Tal, from Nuwa Creations collection

Do you think art has an importance other than aesthetics?

Yes of course. It’s a healer. We don’t realize how art is important. Everyone thinks that in order to do art you have to be an artist but it isn’t true. We’re all artists. The way we move and go about life is an art of its own. But I believe that people are scared of art because they are scared of themselves. They are scared of all that touches their inner selves. To do art you have to be by yourself and it doesn’t matter if you draw a thousand line on top of one another, it’s all art if you put your heart into it.

What are the challenges that you have faced throughout your career?

My inner challenges. I’m never satisfied, I always feel like I have to do better. Sculpture challenges are exciting. Being artistically blocked, however, is scary and is the biggest challenge for me.

Let’s talk about Nuwa Creations. What does it mean?

Nuwa Creations comes from the arabic word “نواة” which is the essence of all things.

Do you think doing functional art held you back from sculpting?

In Nuwa design I think I was able to merge both sculpting and functionality decently. When I first started Nuwa design I was hesitant about the idea of making coffee cups, for example. Sometimes I would stop working and think to myself “What are you doing, Katia?” but eventually, I was glad to have managed to create sculptures that were functional and affordable to all.
Katia Al Tal, from Nuwa Creations collection

All images courtesy of artist.