Photographed by Giselle Go and Philippe Terrien
It’s no surprise that Jeremy Tarian found his calling in eyewear design. His father, the famed Alain Mikli, was known for creating revolutionary frames that defined the iconic bespectacled looks of Andy Warhol, Elton John, Courreges, and more. What is surprising, however, is that the towering yet shy Jeremy has been fostering a hobby for ceramics since he was a child, crafting wafer-thin pottery out of natural clay to form sinuous shapes in beautiful earthy tones.
We started collecting a couple of Jeremy’s pieces when we first discovered them, having visited the designer at his atelier. They make for beautiful conversational pieces around a dinner table, made more special because they’re created by a friend. We meet Jeremy at his home in Paris to talk about his ceramic work.
We know you as an eyewear designer for your line, Tarian, but we don’t know how you started pottery. Tell us about that.
For pottery, it’s very simple. When I was 8, my mom wanted to make me do sports. Football, basketball, volleyball, I tried every sport. I didn’t like any, I was so bad! So finally, she brought me to a school for children and I started ceramics there when I was 9. I stayed five years until I was 14. So I started like that. Then the glasses came and the way we work with the acetate and color for the glasses is actually the same way as ceramics. So I restarted ceramics 5 years ago. It was always on my mind and I found an atelier close to the office and that was very nice.
“Pottery is more than an object – it’s like my yoga class. It’s a space, it’s an atmosphere that you have inside and there is no limit – you just do it.”
Is pottery your way to unwind?
Yes, it’s very relaxing. Pottery is more than an object – it’s like my yoga class. It’s a space, it’s an atmosphere that you have inside and there is no limit – you just do it. You can have the best teacher if you want but [ultimately] you have to learn it by yourself. And you have to try and it’s step by step. What I do now is different from what I did five years ago. You have to be close to each color because they will change when it’s cooked.
How do you achieve the color and pattern that we see becoming a signature in your work?
I always mix clays which is an old technique from the 18th century. At that time, it [produced] only lines, very straight. I use a mix of different natural colored clays. All of them, except for the black clay, are produced in France. [The design you can create] is unlimited because you play with the colors and you play with the pattern using the drawings you do, but you always have a bit of surprise because you never know what they will look like [after they’re cooked].
The clay is completely natural. There is a mountain where the clay is completely green and the colors only come up when it’s completely cooked. We only have five colors of natural clay but you can mix your own colors to create more sophisticated pigments.
“Places where you learn something or when you see another technique – for example, on my next trip to Japan, I have some addresses to see the ceramics… Voila, it’s an atmosphere. Places to learn something or to see the landscape, the pottery, the food, the artisans. I like urban cities, of course, for the style or destination. “
What’s a typical day for you like?
Usually I work here at home in the morning because it’s very calm and I like the big space so when you need to think about something, that’s nice. After, I go to the office – not far – around 12 noon to 7. But sometimes I take a break in Paris.
What are your favorite places to travel to?
Places where you learn something or when you see another technique – for example, on my next trip to Japan, I have some addresses to see the ceramics. We went to Potugal in June to visit some people working with wood, it’s amazing. They cut the wood so thin that the light can go through. Voila, it’s an atmosphere. Places to learn something or to see the landscape, the pottery, the food, the artisans. I like urban cities, of course, for the style or destination.
We see that you like to be surrounded by flowers and plants. Do you have a favorite scent?
I like natural scents. For years when I was young, my favorite scent was from papier d’armenie. Now, I like fragrances from flowers.