Ceramicist Jack Kalish has spent several years perfecting these adorable bookends. I love how realistic and soft they look, and the clever name he gave them — Bukushuns — or “Book Cushions.” Below he shares his inspiration, process and how they came about.
I originally fell in love with ceramics during my senior year of college at Rochester Institute of Technology where I took an elective course in the subject. This is where the idea first came to me to create the Bukushins as my final project for the course. I was inspired by Wendell Castle, an artist-in-residence at my college, in his remarkable ability to render wood into seemingly soft blankets, sheets, and pillows as is seen in the incredible piece “Chair Standing on Its Head.” Not knowing what I was doing, I meticulously carved two pillows out of solid clay, and they shattered in the kiln!
It was not until after I moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2007 and discovered Choplet Studios that I again had my hand at ceramics. Having taken a course on mold-making there, I decided to try to make the Bukushins once more. This time, slip-cast. Again, I carved the pillow out of solid clay, and used it to make the mold. After casting, firing, and glazing the pillows, I fill them with sand to add weight, and seal them with plaster. I am constantly refining, tweaking, and improving the process.
I am interested in creating work that is both functional and artful. Though professionally, I mostly work with computers as an interactive designer and developer [check out Jack’s commercial work at www.kalicious.com], I really love working with my hands as well, and ceramics is my outlet for that. I currently produce my work at Choplet Studios in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Thanks very much, Jack! Bukushuns are available to purchase here.