My name is Miri Orenstein, and I’m an Israeli ceramic artist, photographer, and designer based in Los Angeles, California. I earned my Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, and a Diploma in Photography from Wizo Design Academy in Haifa. The knowledge that I’ve gained from those different fields created a unique opportunity for me to explore the world of clay from an outsider’s perspective—one that gave me specific sensibilities to find my way in the ceramic world.
I’m inspired by the imperfections, individualities, and true beauty of nature and life, and all my current ceramic works are hand-built in a slow process and done with a lot of passion for the craft. Every piece that I create is different, unique and one-of-a-kind.
I have been exploring my creative voice since I was a kid. In the early years, my main interest was studying and drawing the faces of the people around me. After my mandatory military service, I went to study photography, as I wanted to deepen my education in this field. Those studies led me to develop an obsession with natural light, shapes, and compositions.
Upon graduation, I started my Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication. For those intense four years I kept working on my drawings, starting from realistic portraits and evolving into what became my illustrated minimalist style. Post-graduation, I worked for a couple of years as a graphic designer in Tel Aviv. Feeling like a fish out of water, I realized that this desk job was only a temporary stop on my journey.
I moved to New York, looking for some new way to cultivate my creativity. When I came across a small pottery studio in my neighborhood, I decided to give it a go. After only a few weeks, I was deeply immersed in the art of ceramics. Working with a raw material like clay has forced me to step out of my comfort zone and take a leap onto new ground. It has completely changed my modes of thought and practice. Ever since then, my work has become much more intuitive, honest, and true to itself.
These days, I’m working and creating in my Hollywood studio, where I develop my unique ceramic work while pushing my boundaries with new artistic approaches.
My creative work makes use of ancient techniques; every piece is hand-built with coils and created with a limited number of tools. A key element in my work is granting each piece its unique presence and characteristics, and glorifying all the beautiful “flaws” it comes with. This is the reason that it’s important for me to allow myself the freedom to keep seeking and exploring and to let my work progress at a gentle pace, rather than “manufacturing” new pieces. I believe that this process creates an authenticity that gives each piece its own individuality and makes it truly one-of-a-kind.
Light and shadow are other essential parts of my work. I’m fascinated by how different angles and sources of light can reveal the pieces in a new perspective. Photographing and capturing those special moments in my studio, at different times of the day, can sometimes be one of my favorite parts in this whole process.