Mathieu Casseau is a French ceramist and a talent in the terra sigillata technique.
His studio is located in Bretagne (FR).
Mathieu made his first pottery at the age of 17 and was immediately fascinated by the transformation of clay by fire. His works at the time were polished, decorated and fired in a wood fire or in home-built kilns made from recycled materials with few resources.
However, this was a crucial period in his development.
In 2002, he attended an important training course in Dieulefit. Michel Cohen passed on his passion for wood firing and Jean Jacques Gentil introduced him to glazing techniques in clay. With a professional kiln and the use of engobes, he was able to improve the aesthetics of his works. From then on, he had found his own signature in ceramics, a path previously paved by influential ceramists such as Pierre Bayle, Christian Toublanc and Jean Paul Azaïs.
In 2003, he established his 1st studio. He built several kilns for wood firing and working with terra sigillata (sealed pottery) became his guiding principle. He currently has his studio in Douarnenez (FR) with two wood-fired kilns.
Mathieu Casseau was selected to participate in numerous exhibitions in France, the Netherlands and the UK.
He was awarded several times.
This is the first time he is exhibiting in Belgium.
Mathieu Casseau's day-to-day work involves combining chemistry and poetry, technique and aesthetics. He makes the cracks on his terra sigillata pieces dance with rigour, while loving the randomness of their appearance.
"The common thread running through my work is the tension of the line. I like bodies that evoke a bowl, vazes, stability, open and without accessories. I'm looking for the movement to come from the craquelure, as opposed to the stabile side of the form."
The decorations engraved on certain pieces - stripes, dots, straight lines - are ordered, geometric, symmetrical, drawn with precision and meticulousness. The untamable, lively side comes resolutely from the cracks and colours that are revealed by the flames. It's this combination of order and disorder in the demanding technique of terra sigillata that fascinates MC, and suits his temperament.
His elegant pieces, with their warm colours, engravings and fine fractures, are the result of a highly mastered process.
Terra sigillata is an engobing technique of Greco-Roman origin.
The secret of terra sigillata lies in the production of a fine, purified clay silt obtained through a long process of sieving and decanting.
The fat clay is dried and sieved to a powder, then diluted with rainwater.
On the wheel, Mathieu Casseau does some fascinating work on vessels, which forms the perfect basis for his powerful engobe technique. He fires his work in the wood-fired kiln in one go, at up to 980°C, without biscuit firing before.
Perfect vitrification is achieved during the firing process. The slip fuses with the surface of the carefully polished piece.
Some types of throwing clay develop large spiral cracks; others are controlled by the tension caused by the flames passing through the pots in the wood-fired kiln. Smoking at the end of firing can blacken the cracks and certain parts of the pot.