The Nike Dunk Low “Ceramic” was first released in 2001 as part of the Japan-exclusive “Ugly Ducklings” pack of three Dunks. The additional two colorways, “Plum” and “Veneer” were each treated to retro releases earlier this year. Now the “Ceramic” version completes the pack for 2020.
Caitlin Sullivan and Jonas Klock are the co-founders of Clayground, a ceramics co-working studio based in Berlin, Germany. In support of Nike’s “Stay True To Your Crew” Dunk campaign, we met with Sullivan, Klock, and their crew of ceramicists, to spend a day at Clayground.
First, what is the vibe like at Clayground? Are people listening to music, having conversations, helping each other?
I can almost recognise who is in the studio when I walk in the door, judging by what music is playing. Members are usually chatting a little, but in a low key way that shows that they respect the others around, and don’t want to intrude if someone is focused. I think people have found a great balance of being a little social and having an openness to others, while still respecting people’s need for creative focus as well.
What makes your community so important for Clayground as a business?
The community is essential in every way to our business – we wouldn’t exist without it. Without our crew, I don’t believe that we would have the organic growth and word-of-mouth recommendations that we have. More and more people hear about the incredible people working here and, therefore, about Clayground as the place where they work. We’re actually quite selective about who we invite to become members, because having such a kind, welcoming and collaborative group of people here makes Clayground what it is. It keeps people recommending it without much of a push from us.
Why did you decide to create Clayground as a co-working space to begin with?
The initial concept was actually that we would have a few members working in the studio with us. Then we would have a studio for ourselves, while also giving others the kind of community environment with 24/7 access that we couldn’t find in Berlin. We felt a need to connect with other people working on ceramics. So the co-working concept was formed out of our need for community and a ceramics space as a new arrival. We also liked the idea of building something from scratch; a space that inherits a variety of different characters. A cozy self-built space.
Your community seems very close-knit, does that help everyone learn from one another?
This is what we “offer” more than anything else. It’s funny because it’s not an asset or service that we can really control, but its the core of what we do. We’ve created the space for people to grow as ceramic makers, by working in a supportive community. People come to Clayground in order to work beside such diverse people, people they can share the process with. You can fast track the learning process when you can ask someone how they got a certain glaze result or how they made a certain shape. It saves a lot of trial and error. We try to have a mix of people with different backgrounds with ceramics, with different levels of skill, and different ceramic techniques so everyone gets to experiment and be inspired by new ideas. We’ve seen many members coming as beginners and at one point outgrowing the space, and opening their own little studios as professional potters. It’s great to see people grown, and be able to provide the space for that to happen.
The Nike Dunk Low “Ceramic” releases from solebox stores on November 19, 2020, for a price of 100 EUR. In cooperation with Clayground, several raffle winners will also receive handmade ceramic pieces inspired by the “Ceramic” Dunk.
Photos and words by Christopher Danforth.