Meet Azadeh Razaghi

Azadeh Razaghi was born and raised in Tehran, Iran to an artistic mother, who is an arts teacher. She has degrees in graphic design and industrial design. She is a seamstress who is very passionate about art. In her spare time she enjoys making art pieces and doing yoga. She plans on continuing to create pottery pieces and hopes to make pottery her profession.

TELL us a bit about yourself. Where did you grow up? What did you study, and what was your impetus to become a potter?

I grew up in Tehran, Iran. In high school, I studied 4 years of graphic design. Later, I studied Industrial Design at Azad University’s Department of Arts and Architecture. I passed a big national exam called “Concur”. Anyone who wants to go to university in Iran has to pass this exam. Depending on your score, you are given choices about what subject you can study in university. The higher your score, the more choices you have. Most people wish to study medicine or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I was very good at math in middle school and I was encouraged to study STEM, but I chose art instead. However, studying Industrial Designing at university was what made me more familiar with forms, and that’s one of the reasons I chose to take pottery classes.

Image by Azadeh Razaghi

WHAT do you particularly appreciate about the pottery studio?

About anything! The environment is very friendly. I appreciate the space and the equipment that we have. It’s high-quality. I appreciate the work that the technicians put in and how they handle our work. I also think it is affordable and the classes are high-quality. I love how generously more experienced potters share their knowledge with others.

WHEN did you join Semiahmoo Arts and what was your motivation to join?

I started in fall 2018. I was looking to join an art class. I chose pottery. I enjoy working with clay. Angela’s class was so great, because she started with hand building, instead of throwing the wheel. It made me realize how much I can actually create using hand-building techniques. Hand building teaches you that you can alter anything that you throw on the wheel. I also took another of Angela’s classes, where she taught us surface decorating and that’s when I fell in love with sgraffito in particular.

HOW do you approach your work, before you make your ceramic pieces?

I just show up in the studio and go with wherever my heart takes me to. Often times, something just spontaneously comes to my mind. People tell me: you take a long time to make your pottery. Yes, I do. I am in no rush. I enjoy being in the pottery studio for as long as I’d like to. It’s like meditation to me.

HOW is your cultural background incorporated into your artwork?

My inspiration comes from Iran, especially from Islamic drawings and calligraphy. I like incorporating calligraphy in my pottery work. Such as poems by the Iranian poets Rumi and Hafiz. The Scripts I used are called “Nasta’liq” and “Kufic” which is a drawing type of calligraphy. The poem is also about love. Love for God and the Universe.

WHEN did you find your passion for pottery?

I was always fascinated by sculpture and making sculptures out of different materials, such as wood. I was raised in an artistic family. When I was 12 years old I started sewing, which became my first passion. Both my mom and dad knew how to sew. I enjoyed being around so many different types of art and I tried many different art forms before I found my passion for pottery.

I remember my mom doing some pottery at home; industrial design made me understand 3-D art. We had wood, metal, plastic, resin and other kinds of material that we incorporated into our artworks. To me, creating a form is like creating pottery. Then in 2004 I got married and moved to Canada. I went to the Port Moody Arts Center and registered for a wheel throwing class. When we moved to Surrey, I refined my passion for pottery. I took a class at Semiahmoo arts, where Angela taught us hand building. And that was it: I fell in love with pottery! I wanted to be at Semiahmoo Arts more often than just once a week. Which is why I took more pottery classes to allow me to be at the studio more often.

DO you have any advice for potters on how to make the best out of their experience?

Pottery is just so new to me. I don’t really see myself as a “professional potter” yet. But for the ones who just joined, I can say: just show up and enjoy what you do. It is about having fun. It is about the experience rather than the result.