STUDIO VISIT: Bari Ziperstein of B Zippy & Co.
Company: B Zippy & Co.
Artist: Bari Ziperstein
We at the Echo Park Craft Fair are drawn to Bari’s innovative and experimental shapes, glazes and approach to intimately and architecturally sized ceramic sculptures. We were honored to visit Bari’s studio space in Lincoln Heights, and get a glimpse into her creative process.
Founded in 2008 by artist Bari Ziperstein, B Zippy & Co. is known for their iconic innovation in the medium of ceramics. Working tirelessly to develop engineering methods that challenge conventional notions of slab construction, B Zippy & Co. develops creative solutions to both formal designs and technical concerns.
The Echo Park Craft Fair is celebrating our 10 year anniversary this Holiday, 2019. Can you speak to how long you’ve been doing the Fair and how the EPCF community has contributed to the evolution of your work and business?
B Zippy & Co. has been a part of the fair since the very first fair in 2012 – which I wasn’t physically at, due to having my appendix out that weekend. My friends and family gathered together to work my table of small lady finger vases and necklaces. I was so disappointed to have missed it! Since then, B Zippy & Co. has had huge shifts, from moving studios to offering more architecturally scaled works. But debuting our smalls every Spring and Winter at the EPCF has been very crucial to our business, as it’s the one show in L.A. that we participate in annually where old and new clients come. Plus, it’s so wonderful to visit with our community of designers; it’s become a tight group in our little corner at the Mack Sennett Studios.
Please tell us about the current work you will featuring this Holiday and speak a bit to how you/your work as evolved over the last decade?
This winter we will be debuting our classic Tube series but adding in some more luscious glazes that we’ve been working on all year.
The ethics of production are on our minds a lot recently – questions of sustainability, fair labor, location, and artistic integrity. How do these concepts come into play in your craft and your business? What choices do you make that take into account these ideas?
These have been at the forefront of our business for some time, most recently with the company’s ability to offer a health care package for all full time workers. We also offer professional development and practices once a quarter – and team building exercises. I’ve worked really hard on who we hire, how we hire, and how we retain our team – which results in an employee culture that is serious and rigorous, but with knowing it’s about innovation in the end.
Can you speak a bit to your process? What inspires your work? What techniques do you use to produce your designs? What is the history behind those techniques, and does that inform how you utilize them in your process?
Our process is strictly hand build; there is no wheel throwing involved – so this is a process using large slabs, the extruder, or on some occasions, coil building. This allows us to use precise templates for slab construction, and manuals for every piece we make are accurately recorded. I prefer the hand building process with it’s direct process and immediate results on a large scale.
What is your underlying philosophy/core vision for your work? And what impact do you hope your creative work will have on your community?
After graduating with my Master of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California in 2004, I worked primarily in studio-based sculpture and experimental public art. At CalArts, I studied with revered conceptual artist Michael Asher, whose method of engaging directly with the physical environments and socioeconomic structures through which artworks circulate was a profound influence. As my work grew more ambitious, I sought an alternative to the myth that the only viable career path for an artist is through teaching.
B Zippy & Co. was conceived as a way to circumvent prescribed notions of success for working artists and is built on my innate creativity mixed with ideas borrowed and enacted from conceptual art and feminist principles. Over the past decade, the company has produced both intimately sized and architecturally scaled ceramic vases, vessels, lamps, and furniture. Often made in limited editions, B Zippy & Co. ceramics are sought after by interior designers and private collectors and are highly regarded by the art and design press.