Ceramic artists list
> Ceramic artists list 100. Tim Rowan 99. Graciela Olio 98. Michal Fargo 97. Ryan Blackwell 96. Ellen Schön 95. Francesco Ardini 94. David Gallagher 93. Elizabeth Shriver 92. Jason Hackett 91. Patricia Sannit 90. Bente Skjøttgaard 89. Steve Belz 88. Ruth Power 87. Jenni Ward 86. Liliana Folta 85. Kira O'Brien 84. Annie Woodford 83. Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso 82. Bogdan Teodorescu 81. Kimberly Cook 80. Paula Bellacera 79. Debra Fleury 78. Cindy Billingsley 77. David Gilbaugh 76. Teresa & Helena Jané 75. Marianne McGrath 74. Suzanne Stumpf 73. Deborah Britt 72. Kathy Pallie 71. Els Wenselaers 70. Kjersti Lunde 69. Brian Kakas 68. Marie T. Hermann 67. Mark Goudy 66. Susan Meyer 65. Simcha Even-Chen 64. Barbara Fehrs 63. Shamai Gibsh 62. Natalia Dias 61. Bethany Krull 60. Amanda Simmons 59. Arthur Gonzalez 58. Chris Riccardo 57. Akiko Hirai W 56. Johannes Nagel 55. Rika Herbst 54. Liza Riddle 53. Chang Hyun Bang 52. Virginie Besengez 51. Jasmin Rowlandson 50. Chris Wight 49. Wim Borst 48. Rafael Peréz 47. Guðný Hafsteinsdóttir 46. Cathy Coëz 45. Merete Rasmussen 44. Carol Gouthro 43. JoAnn Axford 42. David Carlsson 41. Margrieta Jeltema 40. David Roberts 39. Patrick Colhoun 38. Abigail Simpson 37. Signe Schjøth 36. Katharine Morling 35. Dryden Wells 34. Antonella Cimatti 33. Cynthia Lahti 32. Carole Epp 31. Blaine Avery 30. Ian Shelly 29. Jim Kraft 28. Wesley Anderegg 27. Connie Norman 26. Arlene Shechet 25. Young Mi Kim 24. Jason Walker 23. Peter Meanley 22. Shane Porter 21. Jennifer McCurdy 20. Yoichiro Kamei 19. Debbie Quick 18. Ian F Thomas 17. John Shirley 16. Grayson Perry 15. Vivika & Otto Heino 14. Georges Jeanclos 13. Daniel Kavanagh 12. Nagae Shigekazu 11. Matthew Chambers 10. Tim Andrews 9. Claire Muckian 8. Adam Frew 7. Maciej Kasperski 6. Roxanne Jackson 5. Keith Schneider 4. Celeste Bouvier 3. Tim Scull 2. Kim Westad 1. Sara Paloma

Interviews

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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  • Interview with ceramic artist Ken Eastman

    Interview with Ken Eastman / Featured now
    By Ileana Surducan
    Published in Ceramics Now Magazine Issue 2

    Ken Eastman’s work is on the cover of Ceramics Now Magazine Issue 2

    Why did you choose the vessel as the central element of your art? Was there a transition from functional vessels to sculptural ones?

    I have been working in ceramics continually since 1980. There have been periods when I have moved away from the vessel, but really it has been at the core of my work for most of the time since then. I do not make functional pots, but rather use the vessel as a subject - to give meaning and form to an expression. For a long time now I have realized that my overriding interest is making new coloured clay forms. This seems for me to be the essence of pottery- to make shapes which occupy and contain space and to decorate those shapes. By decorate, I mean to paint slip or glaze, to draw, to make image or line across the skin of the clay.

    Ken Eastman Ceramics

    Ken Eastman: For all we know, 2010, Stoneware with painted coloured slips and oxides, 43x31x37 cm.

    Does your creative process start from a certain image in your mind, or do you seek for inspiration as you progress?

    I have always made things - at first out of Lego and wood and for a long time now, using clay. Working on how to approach creating, so that I can go to work every day and explore shape and colour and move forwards, is always hard. The breadth of ceramic possibilities means that to make any progress it is necessary to build up some strict limitations. I use writing and drawing to approach the spirit of a piece of work, but I do not draw an ‘architectural plan’ of the piece that I am about to make: ideas that work in two dimensions are often different from those that are successful in three dimensions. Also, if I knew exactly what I was going to make before I started work in clay, there would be little room left for the play and invention that is an essential part of creative work. A large part of the reason for making is to see things which I have never seen before - to build something which I am excited about and wish to show and share with others. So I try not to plan anything except roughly how to proceed within my imposed limitations.

    Tell us about the slab building technique that you use. What are the challenges that you encounter and the skills that it requires?

    I roll out slabs of white stoneware clay by hand with a wooden rolling pin. Most of the rolling is bashing the clay flat and the rolling smoothens the material towards the end of the process. From the moment I start rolling out slabs I have to start making decisions - not what the piece will look like, which will in time become clear, but the details - how wide, how long, how thin or thick the slab, choices which determine shape. The objects which I make are clearly defined, they have drawn ground plans, smooth walls and clear edges, but this resolution emerges slowly. There are certain curves and curlings which a thin slab can manage better than a thicker one, but sometimes it’s the soft fatness of a rim or the weight of a piece which is more important.

    Colour is an important part of your work. How do you see the interaction between colour and volume?

    As soon as possible in the making process, I begin to make marks on the surface with coloured slips and oxides, whilst the clay is still quite wet. I paint on numerous layers of colour, firing the work repeatedly. I apply it in response to three dimensional form and it is in this way I paint the surface in order to explore and make sense of what I have made. I don’t know what colour I want a piece to be until I find it by working - building up layers of colour can often feel more like a stripping away to reveal what was meant. I am interested in the relationship between colour, the illusionistic space of a surface and actual space. This relationship is a complex one - as well as inhabiting the 2 dimensional space on a curving plane of clay, colour can, in a sense fill the actual 3 dimensional space of the vessel itself. Glen Brown in writing about my work said that colour becomes “volumetric, contained, like real space itself, by the vessel walls rather than merely carried on them: it becomes a fundamental content of the work rather than a superficial aspect of it.”

    Today’s contemporary art puts a lot of emphasis on dynamics and interactivity. In this context, what is the merit of an art work that encourages contemplation as an aesthetic experience?

    Being a static artwork does not exempt it from being dynamic or profound. Art work which is three dimensional demands that the viewer moves around the work and becomes involved in order to experience it and to contemplate it, which is of course a truly dynamic and interactive experience.

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  • Interview with Liliana Folta

    Interview with Liliana Folta / Spotlight
    By Ileana Surducan
    Published in Ceramics Now Magazine Issue 2

    What sparked your interest for ceramics?

    I was in college taking painting classes and I wanted to learn sculpture. One day I stopped by the sculpture lab to ask the instructor if I could audit the class. She agreed and handed me a piece of clay. I was amazed at the work of the students. A retired engineer was making intriguing ceramic sculptures. The forms were powerful and provocative. At that moment I thought of how versatile and expressive clay could be to express both powerful and delicate ideas. It was, for me, the medium of infinite possibilities.
    Immediately my brain had an explosion of ideas. I fell in love. I realized I could create 3D from some ideas of my paintings. In fact, I ended up sculpting so many pieces during the class that The Art Department awarded me a grant to do a whole semester and also the first solo show ever done by a student in the college.

    Liliana Folta Ceramics - An Abstract Poem of Freedom

    Liliana Folta: An Abstract Poem of Freedom (detail), 2009, on going traveling/interaction/installation.
    > View more works by Liliana Folta

    Besides ceramic art, you have also created paintings and murals in order to express your inner universe. How does working in three dimensions change your creative process? Do the processes differ a lot between these mediums?

    When I work in 3D, the process of creativity is more fluent, very spontaneous and I can communicate with feelings that I didn’t know I possessed until I felt them in my hands. I can transform them into something visual for others to see. It is a natural process, born of my subconscious. Back in my childhood, I recall helping my father in the garden and end up making objects with mud.

    In my paintings, it’s me: my surroundings, my past and present, something very personal and intimate expressed through a different tactile experience.
    As with murals, most of them have been collaborative works I’ve done with students at schools. The first one I made came out of the blue. A friend asked me for ideas on what to do with a wall where the tiles had been removed. I had the idea to teach the students about mural making and the importance of recycling material to make art. That’s how the first mural was born.

    You express yourself freely using clay. What are the main materials and ceramic techniques that you use?

    I like to experiment, so I have been using different kind of clay, such as stoneware, low and mid-fire with glazes and oxides. When I do mixed media, especially installations, I like to integrate other materials like metal, found objects and fresh water pearls. I use handmade techniques from slab, clay relief, and impressed texture to carving.


    Your past experience and your personal history seem to be an important source of inspiration for you. Tell us more about the symbolism of your work.

    Maybe that’s why I work in different mediums; I am much better expressing my self visually. Sometimes an image will stay with me and I am compelled to paint or sculpt it. Much later, I will realize that these images have a much deeper significance to me, one that transcends the visual. These images become symbols of social-political issues that are at the core of my world views and concerns. For example in the ceramic chains installation, the chains remain unconnected and loose, which symbolizes the right of freedom of the individual; regardless of religion, race, country, and gender. Freedom of expression is something that we, as humans should never have to give up.

    Many of your works have an intrinsic femininity. How does being a female artist influence the themes and the ideas you choose to represent?

    My themes and ideas begin with personal experiences, past, present, as well as everything that surrounds me: people, places and objects. Sometimes stories interact with different characters in different circumstances. I also like to create surreal landscapes for them.

    The white flowers I used in the “Warrior’s Series”, are images from my bank of memories of my father’s garden; he used to mix the flowers in the vegetable garden, which was my play yard during my childhood. “After Chaos”, a woman sleeps peacefully. She is able to find tranquility because she is surrounded by “white warrior flowers” - deceptively frail, and yet possessing all of the strength of memories, nature and the power of womanhood. These flowers guard her as she rests before facing whatever trials the day may bring to her.

    You come from Argentina, and you define yourself as a Latin American artist. How does your cultural heritage reflects in your creative experience?

    My Latin American roots inform my work. I was born in Argentina, my parents were immigrants of the World War II, and so my back ground tradition at home had a strong European flavor. Even so, I grew up proud for the country that welcomed my parents and the country they taught me to love. Moreover, I am also married to a Puerto Rican man, my son was born on the island too and we spent many years there. This is yet another passage in my life, where the colors and details are reflected more in my paintings than in my ceramics. So you see, my cultural heritage is a potpourri of different tradition and experiences, and everything is reflected in my art.

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  • Interview with Els Wenselaers, Belgian ceramic artist

    Interview with Els Wenselaers / Spotlight
    By Ileana Surducan
    Published in Ceramics Now Magazine Issue 2

    What made you choose ceramics as a way of expressing yourself?

    Clay is as good as any other medium, it is a material with lots of possibilities but it doesn’t influence my personal perception of art. Sometimes because of its limitations in format, in height, due to the measures of my kiln I have to find other solutions than I used before, but that are technical issues. I have also used other materials like papier maché before but the outcome of my figurines would be the same.

    What is for you the importance of figurative representation?

    It’s the essence of my work. It wouldn’t be possible for me to make work if my thoughts and feelings are not involved. All of them have a meaning and reflect my personal view on society. It’s not necessary for the public to understand it, you can enjoy them without knowing the background, but I need to be able to make them. Some of my works have a spiritual dimension. Love, understanding and insight, the meaning of existence - of evil, the happiness of life and the tragedy of death affect us, but are by themselves invisible. You can see it as a spiritual quest in which I will not flee, but indeed want to decompose and play with. The human figure in this case is the most suitable.

    Els Wenselaers Contemporary Belgian Ceramics - The brain controller

    Els Wenselaers: The Brain Controller, 2009, Ceramics, used materials, 25 x 29 x 16 cm.
    > View more works by Els Wenselaers


    Art no longer has to be “beautiful”, since the beauty of an object is derived not only from its appearance, but also from it’s concept and use. Tell us more about the aesthetic categories embodied by your work, and your motivation in choosing them.

    The followers of modernism only repeat a trick, a cheap shock effect - desecrating the beauty. It has been repeated so many times and now it belongs to the popular circuit. An authentic artist is always looking for new styles, new forms to express himself and will not be guided by expectations. The emptiness of existence can contrast strongly with its beauty and vice versa. Beauty, ugliness, two sides of the same coin. It’s the perception of it that counts; something very beautiful can be experienced as ugly when you discover the essence, the inner side of it. Art exists in many layers, for those who want to see it. My work can be considered as superficially aesthetic, but the deeper meaning is of a different order. There isn’t much beauty in the emptiness of an existence as in the Sisyphus series. “L’existence précède l’essence”. Existence precedes essence. (Jean Paul Sartre)


    The Human Hybrids series emphasizes a new twist of an old idea. Humans with animal characteristics have been a constant presence in many cultures since thousands of years ago. Compared to their traditional representation, what do you want to express with your works?

    Indeed, one of the oldest known is an ivory sculpture, the Lion man of the Hohlenstein Stadel, Germany, a human-shaped figurine with a lion’s head, determined to be about 32,000 years old. Anthropomorphism is assigning human (behavioral) characteristics to animals. After reading an article about genetic engineering, I started on human hybrids. You can make goats, produce cobwebs or grow a human ear on the back of a mouse, etc. These techniques don’t stay within the walls of a laboratory. Since a number of years, you can find genetically manipulated fish in the aquarium trade. A familiar example is the glowfish: a gene of coral polyps was implanted in a zebrafish so that the fish has become luminous. Wherein ancient civilizations, men thought that they could get the spirit of the animal at their sides in the hunt by performing rituals, men now literally attempt to change certain qualities or appearances of people through genetic modification. Currently one is allowed to blend DNA of humans and animals and keep this hybrid alive up to 14 days, and this with the purpose to investigate the study of human bred organs for organ transplantation. There are both positive and negative elements to this evolution, but you can wonder who will eventually be the freak in the future: modified or unmodified humans. I want to start a dialogue about it with the Human Hybrids.

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  • Interview with David D. Gilbaugh (The Tectonic Method)

    David D. Gilbaugh (The Tectonic Method)
    Author: Ileana Surducan
    Category: Techniques
    Published in Ceramics Now Magazine Issue 2

    The objects you create realistically mimic the texture and look of wood stumps, roots and branches. What is your connection with this natural element, and why did you choose to investigate it in ceramics?

    Human emergence is the overarching theme of my sculptural work; as metaphors for that I use the aging tree as well as the natural land features of the earth. My life connection with trees and land extends from childhood when I remember exploring the woods and mountains of Colorado with my older brother and friends. Today I continue my fascination and exploration with the woods and mountains here in Southern California, where I live a short walk from the local foot trails of the San Gabriel Mountains. Ceramics is the most appropriate medium for me because clay seems to know what I want and interacts with me in a very agreeable way. The characteristics and behavior of clay seems to have a common goal with me as if it wants to behave in a way that yields a pleasing result. Clay naturally takes on the characteristics of wood and earth.

    David D. Gilbaugh Ceramics - Interview for Ceramics Now Magazine

    David D. Gilbaugh: Racemosa, 2011, sculpted teapot, 4”(W) x 11”(H) x 8”(D), hand-built slab, B-mix stoneware paper clay with grog, cone 10 reduction, black stain brushed in crevices, water washed iron and rutile stain. Permanent collection of the American Museum of Ceramic Arts.
    View more works of David Gilbaugh


    In order to make your work, you use a special process called the Tectonic Method. Tell us more about this technique. How did you develop it and what are its characteristics?

    The Tectonic Method is a sculptural technique that utilizes the same tectonic forces that shape and texture the surface of the earth’s crust. These forces include stretching, compressing, and twisting. I begin with an idea of the sculptural object I am going to make and the pieces that will make it up. I then cut a piece of clay from the block that is roughly in the shape of what I want. I then use specialized wire hand tools to pre-texture what will be the visible surface. Next, I “naturalize” the pre-textured clay by tossing, slamming, or dropping the clay against the table top in a way that distorts the tooling of the pre-textured surface. The textured surface is not touched by the hand or tools from then on. The result is a dramatically textured form that is very natural looking. I call this a “tectonic form.” I then use specialized techniques to join together numerous tectonic forms to create a “Tectonic Sculpture” like “The Imaginist” or “The Bearded Ghoul.”

    Early in my ceramic studies I began developing The Tectonic Method when I was laying them out on the table top to stretch them out. I could see that stretching clay gave it beautiful patterns of cracks and fissures. I soon discovered that cutting the surface of the clay before stretching it resulted in natural patterns that are easy to reproduce and incorporate into sculptures. The method developed very quickly from there. Since those early experiences stretching clay I have found numerous applications by other ceramists who used stretching as a texturing technique and even a throwing tool designed to apply patterns to vessels thrown on the wheel called the “Steve’s Tool.” A bit of research reveals that stretching clay to achieve decorative textures in clay is a very old tradition. What distinguishes the Tectonic Method from other stretching methods is that it includes specialized techniques for pre-texturing the clay, numerous tossing methods for naturalizing textures, and construction methods for building large clay sculptures that can be prone to slumping to the side during firing. The Tectonic Method is a start-to-finish method of forming and constructing both small and large clay “Tectonic Sculptures.”


    Many of your objects are made from paperclay. What are the paperclay’s properties and why did you choose to work with it?

    Paperclay is extremely versatile clay that works well with my purposes, especially the Tectonic Method. It remains workable even when it is dry. At bone dry it can be drilled, sawed, and even rewetted. Many ceramists try paperclay and find it difficult to use so they go back to what they were doing. This is unfortunate, and I believe it is because it is the change itself that is the real challenge, not the clay. Paperclay is not difficult to work with at all; it is only different and takes getting used to. Before I began throwing with porcelain I was told it was much more difficult than stoneware to throw. However, it is not more difficult, it is only different in its properties, so the artists must be able to adapt their skills and learn new ones to work with it successfully. I also find paperclay is more economical because it can be very easily reconstituted and go from dry to plastic overnight. If a piece is broken it can be reattached even if it is dry - instead of going in the trash, and the list goes on. However, the primary reason I use it is because of the dramatic textures it produces when it is “pre-textured” and stretched.

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  • Romana Cucu Mateias - Artist of the month, November 2012

    ARTIST OF THE MONTH / Romanian Contemporary Ceramics, November 2012: Romana Cucu Mateiaş

    Romana Cucu Mateias - Ceramics Now Magazine, Digital Issue Two Cover

    Interview by Andra Baban for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

    As a contemporary artist with extensive knowledge in the field of ceramics, can you share with us a significant experience for your career?

    There is no doubt that growing up in a family of artists had a major influence on my life and artistic career. The chance to develop myself in an artistic environment, to be in contact with different genres of art, cultivated my taste for diversity. As a defining experience, I can say that the time spent in the ceramics studio during high school was the most interesting for me. In that period, the studio was an experimentation lab and I was encouraged by my teacher, Judita Crăciun, to discover new things, and so I gathered knowledge that further helped me build my artistic identity. A similar stage was during doctoral studies when I had the opportunity to reshape and enrich my knowledge and vision regarding ceramic art.

    What inspires you and how do you start a new project?

    New projects usually occur after reflecting on certain subjects, items or concepts that caught my attention and which I want to integrate into the work. Other ceramic projects come as a response to a challenging and interesting thematic for a special event or exhibition. What I particularly like is to closely observe plants, animals and insects, and to study their surfaces with a special attention to the countless details, drawings, textures or structures. The miniature elements extracted from the vegetal and animal world are translated into my work through a personal alphabet of shapes. Besides this, in my work I often use details and anatomical fragments as inspiration. In some works, these fragments lose their original identity and transform into volumetric expressions and complex reliefs.

    There is a visible preoccupation for texture in your work; how do you make it and how important is texture and surface for the message you want to send?

    The decorative elements are completing the volumes and have an equal importance for the ensemble, the details becoming in this context a work by its own. The texture makes the work more pretentious and transforms it into an object that requires more time and close inspection in order to be discovered. The structures are completing the volumes with nature inspired shapes, vegetal and zoomorphic elements. These graphic traces, reliefs or applied elements on the works’ surface are growing together with the shape. Some of the reliefs are taking form in the process of constructing the work by pressing the material on textured surfaces, and other work surfaces are transferred by imprinting, cutting and etching, or by applying mixed glazes to the surface. It is a big pleasure for me to collect in my kit of tools items that can help me later on with my work. This kit, made over the years, consists of lots of items that are indeed a small treasure - a chest with instruments out of the ordinary and tools made by me for the purpose to obtain new textures and more complex patterns.

    [] Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two
    * Digital Issue Two will be published on December 2012

    In 2010 you held a conference in Paris on the topic of Romanian contemporary ceramics. In this context, what can you say about the context of Romanian ceramics? Do ceramist artists have opportunities in Romania?

    The presentation of Romanian contemporary ceramics was part of a larger project together with a Romanian contemporary ceramics exhibition with Cristina Popescu Russu as curator. The exhibition, held at the Romanian Cultural Institute in Paris, was one of the most important events for the Romanian contemporary ceramics in the recent years, being included in the program of the 44th General Assembly of the International Academy of Ceramics (International Academy of Ceramics - ICA). Fourteen artists attended the exhibition but 46 Romanian ceramists were promoted through the materials presented throughout the ICA events. Following this exhibition, new contacts were established between artists.

    The visibility of Romanian contemporary ceramics, both nationally and internationally, plays an important role in creating a professional, competitive and creative-stimulating environment which can generate exchanges between renowned and emerging artists, and arise new opportunities for collaborations. Following the records of contemporary ceramists from different generations, with a very original vision in this field, we can notice big differences in the thematic approach, style and forming of ceramic material. The various concerns of the artists for materiality, color, scale or accuracy, and the simplicity of shape are building the identity of Romanian ceramic art. An overview of Romanian contemporary ceramics makes us notice the multimedialism, the interdisciplinary dimension of it, and the new forms and ways of artistic expression generated by new materials, techniques and technologies.

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  • Oriana Pelladi - Romanian ceramic artist, November 2012

    ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, November 2012: Oriana Pelladi

    Oriana Pelladi Ceramics - Romanian contemporary ceramics featured on Ceramics Now Magazine

    Interview by Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two
    Translation by Anca Sânpetrean

    You are a young ceramist who had started her artistic endeavor early on, during college. How did you discover the passion for ceramics?

    I guess it was while working. From one work to another you get new ideas; you get excited, you make things. I remember that at the beginning, in high school, I was fascinated to discover how a crude glaze that was a washy orange became dark green after the firing. When you are applying glazes, a significant part of the process is a mental/ imaginative one. While you are mixing and combining them, you need to imagine their true colors, revealed by the firing process.

    What message or feeling do you wish to convey to the viewer through your works? Is the goal of your artistic process one of searching and experimenting?

    Absolutely! It’s an experiment which starts from the early stages of the work, and includes the viewer’s reaction to the finished piece. The message is open to various interpretations, depending on the power of understanding and interiority of the viewer. It is important for me to create a starting point for a debate.

    The refinement and elegance of your works are the result of the techniques that you employ, together with the subtle interventions on the shape. Tell us more about the creative process of your works.

    There isn’t anything new or unusual to it. First of all there is the idea. For me it’s important to know if what I’m going to produce is suitable to be made from ceramic material, that the idea will be best expressed with this medium. Then I carefully choose the material, so that it matches and supports my idea. Most of the time, I prefer white clays or sandstone. The majority of my works are composed of more than one piece, so I usually make plaster molds, in which I press the paste, and then I interfere with the form, depending on what I want to do. When I made the ceramic boats (No Direction Home, 2010), I had to do various tests, including testing the paper’s reaction with the ceramic slip. It had to be not too glossy, but neither too rough or to absorb much water. Furthermore, it is essential to know where and when you should stop.

    Oriana Pelladi Ceramics - Romanian contemporary ceramics featured on Ceramics Now Magazine
    Oriana Pelladi, The dowry, 2011, Stoneware, White glaze, Wooden pillow.

    In 2010 you was an artist in residence at Fule International Ceramic Art Museum (FLICAM), Fuping, China. What was the result of this residence?

    China is a fascinating country. I lived within a culture with a rich and vast history, one that relates significantly to ceramics. The residence at Fuping has been perfect for me. First of all, I was taken out of the daily context in which I live, away from the little mundane things that interfere with the work. I had my time, I could think and create. I could choose freely from several types of ceramic paste, with high plasticity, provided by the local ceramic factory. It was incredibly nice to work there. Beside this, I experienced working in a studio together with other Romanian and also foreign artists from all over the world - from different generations and with different points of view. It was challenging in terms of creativity, which is a good experience. The residence in which I took part ended with the opening of the Museum of Eastern Europe. Over several years, numerous residences amounted to the creation of the International Museum of Contemporary Ceramics; the museum was composed of several pavilions representing different countries or areas: Scandinavia, America, Australia, Asia, etc. It was a wonderful project, and I was lucky to be part of it. There are many events which deserve to be mentioned. It was captivating. China inspires you.

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  • Virginie Besengez - Spotlight, November 2012

    SPOTLIGHT, November 2012: Virginie Besengez

    Virginie Besengez Contemporary Ceramics - Featured on Ceramics Now Magazine

    Interview by Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

    Your body of work consists in reinterpretations in stoneware and porcelain of everyday objects. What sparked your interest for ceramics?

    Firstly, an attraction toward the household objects led me to ceramic. I am deeply fascinated by clay and the gesture of the hand cupping the bowl.
    Beyond the objects, my interest for this art was aroused by a strong link with the origin of humankind, the ancestral tradition of making household objects out of that universal and natural clay. Finally, meeting with ceramists and contemplating their work was a strong incentive to become part of that story.

    The refinement and suaveness of your ceramic pieces are given by your attention to detail. Tell us about your educational background and other related experiences.

    I had numerous trainings in France and Belgium with ceramists, during which I learned, observed and appreciated the simplicity of the gesture of the first movement. Permanently, I think of the first gestures man performed in order to create a clay or stoneware object.
    I love the primitive aspect of this job whose rules have not changed for thousands of years.

    How did the architecture of the North of France and the austere aesthetic of the Flemish still-life affected your work?

    I am of Flemish origins, I have always lived in the North of France. I don’t believe in plain inspiration, it comes through our environment and culture. In my region and in the near Belgium country more particularly, the black color is omnipresent: in my ancestors clothes, in the colors of the walls, in Flemish paintings. When I walk around cities like Amsterdam or Gand, or along the enbankment in Anvers Harbor, or wandering in Bruxelles, what strikes me is the simplicity and efficiency of architecture, either XVIth century and ultra-contemporary. Streamlined shapes, huge openings to catch maximum light in spite of often grey skies.
    My country is also a landscape of industrial wasteland. Former silos, unused steel factories, traces of a bygone industry in which concrete and rusty steel beams are the ghosts of that prosperous era.

    Virginie Besengez Ceramics - Featured on Ceramics Now Magazine
    Virginie Besengez, Brimming Over, 2012, Stoneware and porcelain, Diam. 50 cm x H. 40 cm. - View Virginie Besengez’s works

    The monochrome compositions that you create give the viewer a subtle remembrance of the object design of the 60’s. Why did you choose not to use color in your works?

    Color makes no sense to me, for me it takes too much space and leaves no room for subtlety and details. You need to have a poetic mind to be moved by the grey sea of the North, by the dull skies of Flanders.
    Grey and black change according to the light, they are not permanent, thus the object has several lives in one day. I am particularly interested in the numerous shades of grey that light can enhance in a monochrome composition, depending on the clay, its closeness to an immaculate porcelain and the way pieces are laid out.
    I have been influenced and inspired by Morandi, but also by urban wastelands, steel compression ready for recycling, odds and ends piled up at the back of an old scottish shop.

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  • Aniela Ovadiuc - Romanian ceramic artist, November 2012

    ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, November 2012: Aniela Ovadiuc

    Aniela Ovadiuc Romanian contemporary ceramics featured on Ceramics Now Magazine

    Interview by Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two
    Translation by Andra Baban

    How did you discover the passion for ceramics?

    By accident! When I was in high school I studied painting and I believed that nothing could rise to its value; that painting is part of my soul and the only way of expression for me as an artist. But this had changed when in university I have met ceramics, felt in loved and couldn’t separate since. This is mainly due to my professor, Ernest Budeş, the person which showed us all the ways of expressing through this medium, using clay, stoneware, earthenware or porcelain, each with its specific techniques. He taught us that ceramics is made with a lot of patience, dedication and most of all, love. He also educated us to love what we do because an object made with all these “ingredients” cannot be otherwise than good: it lives, vibrates, transmits.

    Is ceramics for you an opportunity for introspection?

    Art in general is an opportunity for introspection. Ceramics is a material that allows many possibilities of transposing artistic ideas, therefore can be both two-dimensional (decorative tiles, painting, graphic, photography) and three-dimensional (sculpture, installation). In conclusion, clay has a wide range of artistic expressions that can help you translate almost any idea. Unlike other mediums, ceramics implies using all the primordial elements -earth, water, air, fire- to get the final result; this gives you a lot to think about. To give shape to earth you need water, to dry it you need air, but then, giving it to fire (and I say giving because from this point the fire detains most of the control and often is the best adviser and critic that reveals your mistakes and never forgives them) for objectification, fixing, vitrifying, finality.

    Tell us more about your creative process. Is there a balance between concept and execution?

    The important thing is to have the idea; the rest will follow naturally. When you master the ceramic techniques, you automatically consider the idea in connection with the execution possibilities; it is like the relation thought – word – grammar. You own the concept, the idea, the thought, and can transpose them using a grammatical structure. The same is with ceramics: you visualize the whole process to the ending, and you start to work, meanwhile transposing your thoughts.

    It may happen to change the idea in the process – mainly because the difference of time between thought and action is longer than in other artistic media - for example in painting everything happens almost simultaneously (thought, gesture, action and result) but in ceramics, the execution time is slower and the mind begins to work - the reason why changes can occur in the initial idea but also in technique. Usually, I try not to diverge too far from the main idea, but I have to be very careful because if I let myself flow in experiments, I can easily derail and fail to reach the destination, in other words to  what I wanted to convey. Ceramics doesn’t give you much opportunity to step back in the process, instead it forces you to take it again from beginning.

    Aniela Ovadiuc Romanian contemporary ceramics featured on Ceramics Now Magazine
    Aniela Ovadiuc, The book, 2011, Stoneware, Metalic oxides, 15 x 38 x 3 cm.

    [] Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

    The book is a recurrent element in your creation. What are the origins of this passion?

    During Master degree studies I had as research the theme of the Library (Bookcase), concluding that it is the sum of human preoccupations. If Schopenhauer names the book “the paper memory of mankind”, my work “The Library” (Bookcase) wants to put in light the human – library relationship. The library has the meaning of a book depository where the books reflect the man himself. To understand this I had to ask myself: What is a library? - A book depository; What is the book? - The memory of mankind in the shape of words, images and signs; What are the words? -  Language, signs, symbols, gesture. And still, what is the library? – Is purely a human product, which stores all its history and emphasizes the development path, all thoughts, feelings and human desires. All these are in the Universal Library, and man carries it with himself all the way. The library and the man go together, have a common, inseparable route, like a carried and projected shadow. So from now on, I remained faithful to this theme, because it is very complex and inexhaustible, because we are in constant motion and evolution, but especially because the book as an art object is as Daniela Frumuşeanu said - “an exhibition itself!”

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  • Cristina Popescu Russu - Romanian ceramic artist, October 2012

    ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, October 2012: Cristina Popescu Russu

    Cristina Popescu Russu - Romanian contemporary ceramics

    Interview by Alexandra Mureşan for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

    In 1975 you graduated Ceramics at the Nicolae Grigorescu Arts Institute in Bucharest. You have been active in this domain for over 35 years, all marked by a large number of exhibitions, as well as participations to international symposiums. How was this passion for ceramics born? Have you had any masters that marked your career?

    In the Music & Fine Arts Highschool in Craiova, the teachers Şopov Cole Nicos, Ion Marineanu and Vasile Buz have inspired me a love for painting as well as for molding. I fell in love with our prehistoric ceramics and from then on I knew I would dedicate myself to this domain.  
    In the N. Grigorescu Arts Institute in Bucharest I had the privilege of meeting remarkable teachers: Lucia Ioan Neagu, Costel Badea. I learned something from each of them, namely to learn as much arts history as possible, to investigate, to experiment and to be creative at the same time, to not plagiarize, to know that talent had no significance without daily work, and that only the well made work, the passionate one - can lead to performance.
    Being fascinated by the renaissance techniques in painting and by the technology of ceramics - like I was then, I used to work all day long in the Institute with the love and the exigency that have been taught to us by our professors.

    The material that you most often work with is porcelain. What determines you to prefer it to all others? What are the artistic proprieties of porcelain that makes it more suitable for you than any other material?

    In the ’70 and the ’80 there was collaboration between the arts institutes and the factories in the country that specialized in porcelain, tile, sandstone, glass and other materials. The students used to make their internship and their diploma works there, benefiting from what is vital for an artist: the specific materials and technologies. My love for porcelain was born there as a challenge. Only the ones who have knowledge in the technology of ceramics can comprehend how difficult it is to achieve performance when porcelain is the material of choice. It is a difficult material, hard to manage, because it has a memory and you have to know with precision the distortions, the contractions, the burning curves, when you want to obtain something in particular. Everything is fascinating about this material: the pure white, the translucence gained by the thinning of the fragments, its resonance when it is well burned, its preciousness. 

    [] Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

    You are the founder of Galateea Gallery, the only gallery in Romania dedicated to promoting contemporary Romanian ceramics. What is the Gallery’s history and what are its projects?

    In 1953, the Artists Union in Romania is granted the use of the space for an exposition hall. In 1955, arh. Eugen Vernescu arranges it to host painting and sculpture expositions. Twenty years later, arh. Mircea Coradino dramatically modifies its interior and façade, and the art critiques Mihai Ispir and Mihai Drişcu titled it Galateea Gallery.

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  • Marta Jakobovits - Romanian ceramic artist, October 2012

    ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, October 2012: Marta Jakobovits

    Marta Jakobovits - Romanian ceramic artist

    Interview by by Ileana Surducan and Alexandra Mureşan for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

    What message or emotion do you want to convey to the observer through your works? Is your artistic undertake based on a certain idea or is it more of a searching process and experimentation?

    For me, this process is never conscious, programmed or preconceived. It is more of a constant experiment that is absolutely instinctive. My only guides on this path are those primal, undefined sensations generated by touching and feeling the malleable and permissive clay.
    Only afterwards I come to realize with wonder that a kind of actualization takes place - a humble identification, like a translation of some archaic, immemorial message. When I stop and ”read” the pieces that I created, and I analyze the way I created them, I marvel and realize that an actualization was already in me, that that translation was made through me.
    Good or bad, this is my path; through it I try to understand, not in a rational way, but rather through sensations and feelings, some of the facts of my existence, trying at the same time to leave some signs behind, signs that have meaning only if they are perceived by others.

    [] Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

    Many of your works are created in raku – a technique that is not the most convenient for everybody. Why did you choose this technique? What are the advantages and disadvantages that it presents?

    Raku is a technique that allows one to obtain very special and organic effects, both surprising and discreet. The expressive potential of the surface is greatly enhanced and can vary according to time and to different types of materials used in the burning – crumbled paper, sawdust, grass or dry leafs. Because of the strange appearance obtained through the ulterior reductions, the objects that are born through raku seem to me to be part of an ancient world, they appear timeless.

    The process of preparing the clay for the object that will be raku fired is special and equally important to me, because this offers just as many possibilities. The preparation involving different salts, oxides, engobes or glazes, in diverse combinations gives the final piece a special and unique visual individuality.
    Throughout the years I tested many of these possibilities, and through numerous repetitions I tried to understand and feel the spell of prompt intervention and immediate decision. These interventions can give you the impression that you work directly with the magical proprieties of the ceramic material.

    Marta Jakobovits Contemporary Ceramics featured on Ceramics Now

    Clay is perceived by many to be a docile and easy to manipulate material, but a real ceramic artist knows its potential and limits. In your opinion, what should be the relation between an artist and the material he uses?

    Clay is a material that is very open to the tactile dialog of touches, and this opening is very important to me because it creates a link to a world full of miracles and secrets. Through the material I am capable to connect with messages from ancient times. Clay seems to transport me into a different time, a different dimension. This is the reason why, whenever I find myself face to face with clay I try to reach the highest level of sincerity.

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  • Bogdan Teodorescu - Romanian ceramic artist, October 2012

    ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, October 2012: Bogdan Teodorescu

    Bogdan Teodorescu - Romanian ceramic artist, Romanian contemporary ceramics

    Interview by Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

    You are a versatile visual artist who works in mediums such as painting, collage, video art, but also ceramics. In the process of creating a new work, do you allow yourself the freedom to change the medium of expression?

    Versatility it’s not entirely a positive feature, at least not for an artist. To be consequent could be in many cases a better option. Up to this moment, my flexibility didn’t create a strong image of myself, but instead surrounded me with an aura of strangeness and ambiguity.

    Changing the medium could be an important, valuable quality, mostly when you’re forced to work in difficult conditions. For example, if you don’t have your own kiln or the brightest and most refined porcelain, you have to improvise, for example to do installations of found or smashed objects. If you record the process on camera, you also have good chances of becoming a video artist or a performer. I don’t feel like it’s hard to transfer one idea between different types of media, but it is quite frustrating. I have always imagined myself doing heroic jobs, but I have to acknowledge my limitations and therefore pay attention to small or discreet things. From this point of view, things become even more ambiguous.

    [] Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

    Are your creations the results of research processes or they are on-the-spot transpositions?

    Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t. Let’s say I like spontaneous ideas. I don’t bother that much with research. I’m always intrigued when someone titles his collection of exhibited images a project, evoking some ideas he is attached to. If you’re honest to yourself you will notice how clear everything is. Everything you do comes from a background. I will give you an example: some years ago I developed a project on an accidental idea. I asked two of my friends, a poet and a monk, to start an artistic collaboration, taking advantage of this multidisciplinary friendship. The monk opened a book and picked a word for a theme. The poet had to write something regarding this, and I had to paint or draw. Almost from nowhere, an idea appeared: smashing watermelons! Then I started the research, amazed by all coincidences I had found. This innocent image had a huge iconography and transgressed many cultures. It was like a revelation.

    Bogdan Teodorescu Ceramics
    Bogdan Teodorescu, This is the best world from the others, 2012, Porcelain, feldspat, approx 27 x 28 cm.
    View Bogdan Teodorescu’s works

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