On graduating from London College of Communication in 2008, Tugolukova went on to spent three months interning with McQueen – a fitting match in Tugolukova and McQueen’s shared love of merging gothic insignia with feminine iconography.
Sasha is currently completing her Masks range of plates, each of which shows a different painstakingly formed face-like illustration, created using mirroring.
‘They’re all monochrome, dark and ambiguous’, Tugolukova explains. ‘Before the plates I’d always worked on paper but after graduation it was hard to get hired as an illustrator as my work wasn’t commercial enough. I struggled to place myself in a box so it was hard to find work.
I wanted to do something creative that I love, not just make something that’s on trend’.
Her conviction in herself has paid off, resulting in a stunning set of tableware created with designs that, as she points out, have the scope to be used across a huge number of applications.
The designs are in part inspired by Tugolukova’s Russian heritage, drawing on the Khokhloma technique – a Russian wood painting style characterised by flora and fauna patterns.
The pieces can take anywhere from two to eighteen months to go from idea to completion.
‘It s like bearing a child – that’s why I give them names’, says Tugolukova. ‘They’re nurtured over months’.
The designs are drawn from a range of sources, including Tugolukova’s own photographs, botanical illustrations, grading books and magazine images.
‘I never know what I’m going to create’, she says. ‘I pre-plan but it never works out see exiting things and it goes in a different direction’.
Due to the intricacy of the elements forming the final images, various aspects of the designs can easily be removed and reconfigured, or isolated altogether to be used on mugs, cups or saucers.
They are currently being produced by hand in Stoke on Trent.
For more information on Mask and Tugolukova’s other projects visit http://sashatugolukova.com/