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Contemporary ceramics magazine

Interview with Bente Skjøttgaard

Interview with Bente Skjøttgaard / Featured now
By Andra Baban
Published in Ceramics Now Magazine Issue 2

As a Danish ceramic artist, do you consider the living climate an important influence in your work?

I think it’s fair to say that my works have a certain Nordic nature component. Danish nature is not wild and magnificent – more one that offers quiet experiences: a misty morning over the ploughed fields; an old, dead tree; rainy weather that starts as dark streaks on the horizon; the weather clearing up after rain. Danish weather is changeable and often a cold, clammy affair, but this makes one more keenly aware of the light and small shifts in nuance.

Your work have been described as highly experimental. From the slip-cast rigorous design to the hand-built structures, you have been experimenting different body of works over the years. How do you find yourself shifting subjects and manners? Is it a continuous change?

I have never personally felt that I undertook dramatic shifts. I see my work as an on-going development, where one thing leads to the next. I will never completely finish – fortunately. While working, new ideas emerge that have to be tested. One could say that the experiments themselves ask the next questions. Ceramics has so many possibilities, and I like challenging the material and myself.

Bente Skjottgaard Ceramics

Portrait of Bente Skjøttgaard, 2010, Photo: Ole Akhøj

What influences and inspires you the most in your creation? How would you describe your current body of work?

With my background as a ceramist I nearly always have my point of departure in an idea to do with material or form. This can, for example, be new form expressions achieved by special compositions, or through cuts or glazing experiments that result in strange surfaces and textures. I often gain inspiration from nature’s formal principles and phenomena. Work takes place systematically and always on the premises of the ceramic material, but the investigations often develop into something that is reminiscent of large, amorphous nature-abstractions, with plenty of glaze. The fantastic thing about clay is that what is nature’s own material can constantly be transformed into something new and relevant.

Delicacy and sensitivity are two powerful characteristics of your work. How much do you rely on intuition and how much on unpredictability?

I make use of both in my work. Ceramics has an innate unpredictability, especially because it is out of one’s hands during the firing at high temperatures. This unpredictability is a challenging co-partner and opponent. All the time, one gets something more or less intentional for free, and from there one has to decide if and how it can be used. My intuition has probably been honed by many years’ experience of this process.

Besides a very playful approach in manipulating clay, you ingeniously use colors and assets of glazes in your work. Tell us more about the importance of color and its use in your creations.

Previously, I was mainly interested in the ability of glazes to interact and behave differently, according to the thicknesses involved. At my ‘Interglacial Period’ exhibition in Galleri Nørby in 2005, it was mainly green/turquoise, because copper is very good at producing that sort of thing. Then came the exhibition ‘Elements in White’ at Galerie Maria Lund in Paris in 2008, where I almost washed the slate clean and experimented with various textures within white glaze.
It was not until the more recent works ‘Clouds’ that I seriously explored selecting more precise colours. Here I have thought more in psychedelic colours, the colours of the sky, sunrise, violet, pink and yellow. It has been interesting to include these more ‘un-ceramic’ colours.

Bente Skjottgaard Danish Ceramics - Purple white cloud

Bente Skjøttgaard: Purple white cloud no 1002, 2010, Stoneware and glaze, hand built, 37 x 55 x 27 cm. Photo: Ole Akhøj
View more works by Bente Skjøttgaard

You are one of the initiators and directors of the Copenhagen Ceramics platform. How did this project start? Tell us more about the objectives of this new Danish movement.

The project Copenhagen Ceramics has been implemented by the ceramic artists Steen Ipsen, Bente Skjøttgaard and Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl, based on having noted that there was no longer any exhibition venue in Copenhagen where the best of the great diversity of ceramic expression existing in Denmark could be shown and experienced ‘live’. Another important aspect of the project is the Internet platform www.copenhagenceramics.com, which we wish to use to disseminate knowledge of Danish ceramics internationally.
We have planned the 10 exhibitions for 2012: 4 solo exhibitions, 5 two-man exhibitions and a single group exhibition with six of the best ceramic artists from the younger generation. The individual artists have been selected and linked together in new constellations that enable completely new artistic facets in all of them to emerge – also among those already more established.

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  • 7 Ceramic Art Competitions and Fairs Where You Should Participate in 2014

    Ceramics Now comprised a list of 7 ceramic art competitions and fairs where artists can apply to participate in 2014. Be quick, the deadlines are approaching fast!


    1. INTERNATIONAL CERAMICS COMPETITION MINO, JAPAN

    The competition is the main event of the International Ceramics Festival Mino, which is held with the aim of supporting growth of the ceramics industry and the enhancement of culture through global exchange of ceramics design and culture. The first festival was held in 1986, and this will be the 10th edition. The last edition gathered 2777 entries from 57 countries. It is considered the largest event in the world entirely dedicated to contemporary ceramics. Read more

    Apply online / Download application procedures / Application form: Individual or Company

    Deadline: January 10, 2014 / Dates: September 12 - October 19, 2014
    Total prizes: ~ USD 130.000 / No entry fee
    Entry categories: Ceramics Design, Ceramic Arts


    2. INTERNATIONAL CERAMICS FAIR OLDENBURG, GERMANY

    Situated around the noble Schloss in the city-center of Oldenburg, the International Ceramic Fair which includes a ceramic market, presentation of professional prizes, special exhibits and artist showcases. The fair ensures that collectors and enthusiasts alike are offered an exquisite range of works from artistic creations to high-quality tableware. Based upon strict criteria a jury of professionals within the field chooses over a hundred workshops and ceramic artists to present their current work. This event attracts more than 60.000 visitors annually. Read more

    Download application procedures and terms / Application form

    Deadline: January 11, 2014 / Dates: August 2-3, 2014
    Entry fee: EUR 240 (includes 3x3 meters stand)


    3. CLAY? V EXHIBITION, UNITED STATES

    The fifth installment of Kirkland Arts Center’s biennial contemporary ceramics exhibition, Clay? V, is juried by University of Washington, School of Art Professors Doug Jeck, Jamie Walker, and Akio Takamori. Clay? V explores the versatility of clay as a medium of artistic expression. Showcasing a range of sizes, scales, subject matter, and techniques, the artwork of this exhibition is both a testament to the enduring legacy of clay and future of the field.

    Read more / Apply online

    Deadline: January 17, 2014 / Dates: March 21 - May 17, 2014
    Entry fee: USD 25


    4. WESTERWALD PRIZE 2014 - EUROPEAN CERAMICS, GERMANY
    Competition open only to European citizens.

    The Westerwald Prize was first awarded in 1973 to present outstanding ceramic art and craft work in the framework of a competition and exhibition at the Keramikmuseum Westerwald (KMW). This remains a priority of the administration of the Westerwald region for the 13th Westerwald Prize in 2014. A further aim is to promote the dialogue between ceramics and art in the region and to support cultural exchange within Europe.

    Download application procedures and form

    Deadline: January 19, 2014 / Dates: September 26, 2014 - February 1, 2015
    Total prizes: EUR 24.000 / No entry fee
    Entry categories: Saltglaze (stoneware and porcelain), Design (serially produced ware), Vessel / Form / Decor, Sculpture / Installation, Talent Award (below 35 years old)


    5. INTERNATIONAL BIENNIAL OF VALLAURIS, FRANCE
    Competition open only to European Union citizens.

    Since 1966 the Town of Vallauris Golfe-Juan has organised a biennial with the aim of promoting and rewarding artistic creation in the field of ceramics. For this edition, it has been decided to use the expression ‘Contemporary Creation and Ceramic’ to stress its intention of making ceramic creation part of the world of contemporary art. The competition is intended to encourage and publicise European talents using the reputation of Vallauris, the town of ceramics, as a springboard facilitating their recognition around the world.

    Apply online / Download application procedures / Application form

    Deadline: December 30, 2013 / Dates: July - November 2014
    Total prizes: EUR 25.000 / No entry fee
    Note: You first have to apply online, then to send the required documents by mail (post).

    Read More

  • Michal Fargo: Else, 2013, Porcelain, fired mold technique, fired to cone 6 electric, 28x15 cm. Photo by Mathew Stanton.

  • » Ceramics Now Magazine launches Issue 2

    Ceramics Now Magazine launches Issue 2

    Ceramics Now has the pleasure to invite you to the launch of Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue 2, March 29, from 6 PM, at The Paintbrush Factory (First Floor), Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

    Issue Two introduces the work of over 35 international artists, beginning with Ken Eastman, Kimberly Cook, Patricia Sannit, Marianne McGrath, Annie Woodford, Suzanne Stumpf or Ruth Power, and continuing with a special feature on Romanian ceramic artists, and a preview feature for Copenhagen Ceramics gallery. The issue also inaugurates the magazines’ new review category.

    Ceramics Now’s goal is to make contemporary ceramics a more visible art field through editing publications and organizing exhibitions, workshops and lectures. The online platform and the magazine unites artists from different communities and facilitates idea exchange between them and the public.

    The magazine is distributed in a network of libraries, galleries and institutions all over the world and can be bought online for $15. Ceramics Now is a non-profit organization created by a team of artists and students in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

    The Paintbrush Factory is a contemporary art space located at 59-61 Henri Barbusse street.

    Read more about the magazine / Download press release / Facebook event

  • Ryan Blackwell: Mother’s Bad Dreams, 2011, Ceramic, Human Teeth, Resin, Metal, Wood 3 x 7 x 6 in.

  • Month in Review: October 2012

    Month in Review on Ceramics Now Magazine: October 2012, Courtesy Tanoue Shinya

    Hello everyone and welcome to our Month in Review, a summary of the last month of activity on Ceramics Now. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive the latest news.
    Check the Subscription offers on our Magazine shop.

    This month’s featured interviews (view list):

    Patricia Sannit - Artist of the month
    Annie Woodford - Spotlight
    Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso - Spotlight
    Anti-Utopias / Sabin Borş - EXTRA!

    This month’s special feature (ongoing - interviews):

    Romanian Contemporary Ceramics
    Eugenia Pop - In memoriam
    Arina Ailincăi
    Marta Jakobovits
    Cristina Popescu Russu
    Bogdan Teodorescu

    This month’s featured exhibitions:

    Ceramics Now Exhibition 3rd / Galateea Gallery, Bucharest
    Francesca DiMattio / Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London
    The Open West 2012 Award Winners exhibition / England
    Caroline Andrin & Francois Ruegg / Puls Ceramics, Brussels
    Melissa Stern: The Talking Cure / Smart Clothes, New York
    Anne Tophøj and Marianne Nielsen / Copenhagen Ceramics
    Cynthia Lahti exhibition / Zentrum für Keramik, Berlin
    Kim Simonsson / Galerie Favardin & de Verneuil, Paris
    Mark Goudy & Liza Riddle / SMAart Gallery, San Francisco
    When I Woke / Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Wales
    Three exhibitions at The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA
    German Op-Art Ceramics / University of Arizona Museum

    This month’s featured connections:

    Jannis Kounellis / Parasol unit foundation, London
    Olaf Breuning: Human Nature / Pippy Houldsworth Gallery
    Yin&Yang Parisienne Mix for Ceramics Now, October 2012
    The reopening of Fabrica de Pensule 2012 / Cluj-Napoca
    Carsten Nicolai - Unidisplay projection wall installation

    This month’s news on Ceramics Now:

    Published: Guideline for sponsorships and submissions

    Next month’s news:

    The launch of Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

    For media partnerships or sponsorship please contact Vasi Hîrdo, Editor, at vasi@ceramicsnow.org
    Submissions and general info: office@ceramicsnow.org

  • Month in Review: September 2012

    Featured on Ceramics Now: Bertozzi & Casoni's Regeneration exhibition at All Visual Arts, London

    Hello everyone and welcome to our first Month in Review, a summary of the last month of activity on Ceramics Now. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive the latest news.
    Check the Subscription offers on our Magazine shop.

    This month’s featured artists (view list):

    Elizabeth Shriver (works)
    David Gallagher (works)
    Francesco Ardini (works)
    Ellen Schön (works)

    This month’s featured exhibitions:

    Ceramics Now Team Exhibition / Europe Gallery, Brasov
    Contemporary Ceramics / Stremmel Gallery, Reno, NV
    Ellen Schön: Vessel Variations (x3) / Vessels Gallery
    Fragile! In Transit / Traveling exhibition around Europe
    Scandinavian Design / Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
    Marek Cecuła: SEEDS / Glass and Ceramics, Wrocław
    Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos / NEW MUSEUM, New York
    Bharti Kher / Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art
    Ruth Duckworth exhibition / Erskine Hall & Coe, London
    Contemporary Clay Invitational / j fergeson gallery
    Arina Ailincăi: In-Scripted Body / Art on the Avenue
    Scandinavian Ceramics Conference 2012 / Hjørring
    Clémence van Lunen exhibition / Galerie NeC, Hong Kong
    MOUNTED / Red Lodge Clay Center, Red Lodge, Montana
    CONCEPTION - Part Two / Canvas Galleries, Belfast
    Aneta Regel Deleu / Puls Contemporary Ceramics
    Liliana Folta / Amazing Things Art Center, Framingham
    Reviving the light: Zsolnay Ceramic Design / ILIAD, NY
    Bertozzi & Casoni: Regeneration / All Visual Arts, London

    This month’s featured connections:

    Daehyun Kim Illustrations
    Mimicry Chairs by Japanese design studio Nendo
    Martin Creed on My Modern Metropolis
    Leslie David - Painting Please!
    Tim Hawkinson - Mobius Ship
    Robert Montgomery: Echoes of Voices in the High Towers
    James Hoff: I’m Already a Has-Been / VI, VII, Oslo
    Anna Von Mertens - Portraits

    This month’s news on Ceramics Now:

    New publishing schedule for print and digital
    New magazine shop - 10% Sale ends December 31, 2012
    We hit 25000 followers on Tumblr (27600 now)
    Published Calendar of Ceramic Art Competitions for 2013

    Next month’s news: Ceramics Now Exhibition - 3rd edition

    For media partnerships or sponsorship please contact Vasi Hîrdo, Editor, at vasi@ceramicsnow.org
    Submissions and general info: office@ceramicsnow.org

  • Jason Hackett: Horizon, 2012, Ceramic, gold leaf, 15” x 14” x 6”

  • CERAMICS NOW SHOP:

    Issue Two - Ceramics Now Magazine

    Ceramics Now Magazine’s Issue Two introduces the work of over 35 international artists, beginning with Ken Eastman, Kimberly Cook, Patricia Sannit, Marianne McGrath, Annie Woodford, Suzanne Stumpf or Ruth Power, and continuing with a special feature on Romanian ceramic artists, and a preview feature for Copenhagen Ceramics. The issue also inaugurates Ceramics Now’s new Review category.

    / Cover: Ken Eastman, Hold your own. Media: Stoneware with painted coloured slips and oxides. Dimensions: 14.9 x 13 x 21.3 inches / 38 x 33 x 54 cm.

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  • CERAMICS NOW SHOP:

    Digital Issue Two - Ceramics Now Magazine

    Ceramics Now Magazine’s Issue Two introduces the work of over 35 international artists, beginning with Ken Eastman, Kimberly Cook, Patricia Sannit, Marianne McGrath, Annie Woodford, Suzanne Stumpf or Ruth Power, and continuing with a special feature on Romanian ceramic artists, and a preview feature for Copenhagen Ceramics. The issue also inaugurates Ceramics Now’s new Review category.

    / Digital Cover: Romana Cucu Mateiaş, Signs between Heaven and Earth. Media: Earthenware, Metalic oxides, 64.2 x 6.7 inches, 75.2 x 6.7 inches / 163 x 17 cm, 191 x 17 cm.

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  • Steve Belz: Pulse, 2011, Ceramic, glaze, bronze and powder coating, 9H x 14W x 10D inches

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