Editorial - Issue 2, 2013

Although the number of contemporary ceramic artists is relatively small, the capacity of ceramics to encompass a broad range of concepts, techniques, and materials in comparison with other arts is surprisingly big. In this issue, as well as in our first, we present artists who work with different materials and techniques, but more importantly, each of them displays a distinct idea, a little hint of what he and his passion are made of. Through the interviews and articles we have included, we want at least a part of the artists’ ideas to be ridden, passed along, and to contribute to the advancement of contemporary ceramics.

While being creative in a field as diverse as contemporary art, it is almost impossible not to draw parallels between your work and someone else’s which was probably created in a media different from the one you use. This happens inevitably, and in my opinion, it always has a purpose – either predefined or not. Even if a parallel is found, each artistic endeavor has its own origin and, at least for the creator, a unique purpose. A new level is reached when the uniqueness of the artistic initiative is recognized and supported by an entire community.

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Ceramics Now Exhibition, 3rd edition / Galateea Gallery, Bucharest, Romania

Ceramics Now Exhibition - International contemporary ceramics exhibition, third edition

Ceramics Now Exhibition, 3rd edition / Galateea Gallery, Bucharest, Romania
November 8-26, 2012

Opening Reception: Thursday, November 8, 6:00 PM.

The international Ceramics Now Exhibition is an itinerary exhibition of contemporary ceramics which presents works of artists that are featured in Ceramics Now Magazine’s platforms or are invited. The exhibition reunites artists from different countries and communities, and facilitates contact between them and the public. Ceramics Now Magazine and Exhibition operate as an exchange platform between artists, galleries, museums, collectors and people passionate about art.

In the context of the globalization of arts and of rapid exchange of information, it is more and more necessary to make a serious coagulation of what is contemporary ceramics. The incorporation of many diverse subjects, working techniques and mediums in creating a ceramic object, are more and more frequent, risking if not counterbalanced, to take this domain back to crafts. The harmony between the compositional elements and concept can be realized through exercise, and this exercise is a reference point for contemporary artists. In creating a contemporary ceramic object, an equilibrium can be reached by those who feel the need to create and who create with depth. Originating either from Australia, Africa, Europe, Asia or America, practice, delicacy and accuracy are characteristics that unite them. The Ceramics Now Exhibition reunites these artists and brings their work together aiming to create an open platform between them and the public. The third edition of our main event will be held between 8-26th of November 2012, at Galateea Gallery, Bucharest, and will present the works of 22 world-renowned contemporary ceramic artists.

EXHIBITING ARTISTS: Steve Belz (USA), Gherghina Costea (Romania), Kimberly Cook (USA), Ossama Mahmoud Emam (Egypt), Nato Eristavi (Georgia), Jason Hackett (USA), Teresa and Helena Jané (Portugal), Brian Kakas (USA), Yoichiro Kamei (Japan), Kentaro Kawabata (Japan), Allison Luce (USA), Nicolae Moldovan (Romania), Akio Niisato (Japan), Heide Nonnenmacher (Germany), Szilvia Ortlieb (Austria), Barbara Schmid (Austria), Avital Sheffer (Australia), Suzanne Stumpf (USA), Kouzo Takeuchi (Japan), Shinya Tanoue (Japan), Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso (China), Gavril Zmicală (Romania).

Curator: Vasi Hîrdo
Coordinator: Cristina Popescu Russu

Ceramics Now Magazine is a comprehensive and innovative publication & online art platform specialized in contemporary ceramics. Founded in 2011, the magazine celebrates the creative field of ceramics through publishing interviews, reviews and works of new and world-renowned ceramic artists, and providing information on contemporary ceramic art exhibitions.

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Annie Woodford - Spotlight, October 2012

SPOTLIGHT, October 2012: Annie Woodford

Annie Woodford - Spotlight on Ceramics Now Magazine

Interview by Ileana Surducan and Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

You take your inspiration from nature. You are not just making a superficial observation, but you conduct a research of the things hidden to the naked eye. Tell us more about the universe you have discovered through your explorations.

I am fascinated by the natural world in its widest sense and at all levels. An interest in the nature of time - the past, present and future has led me to investigate multiverse theory and hidden dimensions - concealed worlds. From there I began to examine nature on a microscopic and nano scale. I became fascinated by the concept of the unseen and rendering it seen.

One of the subjects I investigated was that of diatoms, especially fossil diatoms. Invisible to the naked eye, beautiful and structurally complex I discovered them to bevery significanting the field of paleoclimatology - they are an important indicator of climate change.

I like to select various aspects of the natural world and then examine them on both a macroscopic and microscopic level, considering them in terms of their relationship to time and how they relate to other parts of the universe.

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

Intricate but also delicate, your work seems to be obtained through a very meticulous process. What materials and techniques do you use and how much time does it take to complete a new piece?

Porcelain is the clay I favor - I particularly like ‘Southern Ice White’ which was developed by the Australian ceramicist Les Blakebrough. In general, the works are handbuilt; occasionally I use slip in a free but controlled way, sometimes combining it with fine glass fibre. I like to push the material beyond its perceived boundaries. The characteristics of porcelain mean that it requires careful handling throughout the making process and control and accuracy with firing and cooling.

I often incorporate extraneous materials once the piece is fired such as metal, monofilament, fibre or horsehair. These elements add richness to the work.

A new piece can take up to two weeks to make, depending on its complexity and it can take a further week or two to construct and apply other elements. I work intuitively when I am making, drawing on my research and bringing all the experiences together.

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

Annie Woodford Contemporary Ceramics, Ceramics Now Magazine
Annie Woodford, Circlet, 2009, Porcelain, copper, stainless steel, 24 x 24 x 24 cm
View Annie Woodford’s works

Both science and art are a way of looking at the surrounding environment. What do you think is their meeting point? What kind of form of knowledge is art?

I often find myself working with scientists on projects and I think the two disciplines have many aspects in common. They both help us to understand the world around us. They both rely on investigation and imagination – the ‘what if?’ principle.

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Arina Ailincai - Romanian ceramic artist, October 2012

ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, October 2012: Arina Ailincăi

Arina Ailincai - Romanian ceramic artist, Romanian contemporary ceramics special feature

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

What was your first contact with ceramics?

The first meeting with ceramic took place when I entered the university, as I decided to take the admission exam for the Ceramics Department. The reason for this option was the liberal reputation held by the Ceramics Department, mainly due to the young teachers of various formations, who were encouraging the free investigation subordinated to an “interdisciplinary” that at that time was quite attractive.

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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.

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Anti-Utopias / Sabin Bors - EXTRA!, October 2012

EXTRA!, October 2012: Anti-Utopias / Sabin Borş

Anti-Utopias contemporary art platform

Interview by Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

You hold functions such as curator, associate editor and columnist for different magazines, and you recently initiated a contemporary art platform titled Anti-Utopias. Since you don’t have any formal art education, how did you become interested in contemporary art?

Art has always been one of my main interests, ever since I was a kid, and though I did not follow any formal art education, I did follow an MA in philosophy and culture where some of the major topics we discussed have been Art, Institutions and Cultural Policies, The Artist’s Statute in Post-Modern Culture, or Contemporary Perspectives Upon Culture. I also follow a PhD with a thesis on the future of museums, in terms of art, policies, architecture. Throughout the years I’ve kept a close contact with art in my readings and references, and I think coming from the “outside” is actually an advantage because it allows me to view art in a broader context and integrate its discourse differently. At the same time, I am also aware of the two perils with philosophers discussing art: on the one hand, they run the risk of subsuming art to a philosophical speech; on the other hand, they can feed art with concepts that only deepen the dilemmas of contemporary art and thus contribute to its fractures. When I started Anti-Utopias, my main concern was to create a thematic platform bearing in mind these two perils precisely, but also the theoretical abundance where art in general claims itself from. 

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The primary email address of our Editor-in-Chief, vasi@vasihirdo.com, hasn’t been working well in the last days (Domain Registrar problem). Please resend or forward your emails to vasi@ceramicsnow.org

Thank you!

Ceramics Now Team Exhibition / Europe Gallery, Brasov, Romania

Ceramics Now Team Exhibition, Brasov

Ceramics Now Team Exhibition / Europe Gallery, Braşov, Romania
1-14 September, 2012

Opening reception: Saturday, 1 September, 6 pm.

Ceramics Now Association has the pleasure to invite you to the group exhibition of Ceramics Now Magazine team. With this occasion, the courageous members of the team will exhibit together for the first time contemporary ceramics and glass works. The six exhibiting artists, five members of the team and one special guest, were bringed together by Vasi Hîrdo, founding editor of Ceramics Now.

Exhibiting artists: Andra Baban, Vasi Hîrdo, Alexandra Mureşan, Cora Pojaru, Anca Sânpetrean, Bogdan Teodorescu.
Curator: Vasi Hîrdo

After the success of the first two editions of Ceramics Now Exhibition organized in Cluj-Napoca (The Paintbrush Factory) and Bucharest (Galateea Gallery), this exhibition is prefacing the third edition of the international contemporary ceramics exhibition that will took place at the end of the year in Bucharest.

Ceramics Now Magazine is a comprehensive and innovative quarterly publication (online and print) specialized in contemporary ceramics. Founded in 2011, the magazine features interviews, articles, reviews and works of emerging and world-renowned ceramic artists. It is distributed all over the world in a network of libraries, galleries, museums and institutions.

Europe Gallery is administrated by the Romanian Fine Arts Union - Braşov Branch, and it’s located on 1 Mureşenilor street. The gallery is opened Monday to Saturday, between 12-19 pm. The exhibition can also be visited on Sunday, September the 2nd, between 12-19 pm.

Organized by Ceramics Now Association and the Romanian Fine Arts Union - Braşov Branch.

Download the press release of the exhibition: www.is.gd/teamexpo
The event on Facebook.

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Interview with Jill Beute Koverman, McKissick Museum – Walter Stephen’s work

By Vasi Hîrdo

You have been working at the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum for over ten years. What are the main responsibilities and attributes of being the Chief Curator of Collections & Research?

As Chief Curator of Collections and Research, my responsibilities include overseeing the research and care for the permanent collections. The permanent collections include natural science collections (rocks, minerals, fossils, meteorites and shells) and material culture collections which include fine art, furniture, textiles (clothing, quilts, other domestic textiles, baskets, shoes, accessories), ceramics, glass, metal objects, political materials, silver and objects relating to the history of the University of South Carolina. I guide and implement the collecting activities of the museum in terms of new acquisitions and research, identify long-term care needs of the collections in terms of conservation and storage, and work with my colleagues on various exhibition projects. My research focus is on Southern pottery but I’m knowledgeable about traditional basket traditions of the South, South Carolina history and politics, and University history. In a mid-size institution like McKissick Museum, and particularly at a University, it is important to constantly learn about the various types of museum collections.

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Photographer Jonathan Vanderweit - EXTRA!, May 2011

EXTRA!, May 2011: Jonathan Vanderweit

Interview by Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

Ceramics Now Magazine: Tell us who you are and what you do.

My name is Jonathan and I make photographs in Denver, CO, USA. I have been shooting for about ten years, but have really begun to focus on the craft of photography since early 2010. I also work as a videographer and creative director for a small nonprofit organization here in Denver.

Jonathan Vanderweit monocle photo

What is your present photography project, what’s its history and how do relate to it?

Jonathan Vanderweit: My work focuses on the exploration of the world around us with specific regard to the interaction between humans and the natural environment. This means finding areas where nature has begun to reclaim the world of people, which here  in the US often happens in formerly industrial/manufacturing areas as well as at the fringes of cities and towns. I love finding where our maintenance crews haven’t caught up or which taken on a kind of serendipitous equilibrium between the forces of creation and ruin.

My next two photo projects are extensions on this theme. One is a series of portraits of people who wear glasses or contact lenses. The photos will be displayed in pairs, the left a normal portrait of the subject in their glasses and the right will be a shot without them.  The image on the right will have the focus corrected to account for the person’s natural visual acuity, with a different effect for each person depending if he/she is nearsighted, farsighted, or has astigmatism.

The second project will use some of the locations I have discovered over the last year–walls, doorways, stairs, the urban features of Denver–as settings for exquisitely-dressed floating protagonists. These photos will explore the habitation of spaces that have previously been considered industrial or austere by inhabiting them with individuals bursting with style and weightlessness. Gven the labored past of many of these dwellings, one would expect that they be drab and deserted. In fact the opposite is proving true, homes in lofts and warehouses have strong draw for creative people and have become a highly desired place of residence.

Jonathan Vanderweit monocle photo


How it all started? What was your first camera and what devices do you have now?

My first camera was an Olympus OM-1 with a 50mm lens, which was a gift from my father when I was around 15 years old. Today, I primarily shoot with a  Nikon D700 and I also have a Nikon FE2 that I use when I don’t feel like carrying much, as well as a Mamiya RZ67 medium format system which is huge and exquisite serves as a constant reminder of what a camera actually does.

The instant feedback of shooting digital has accelerated my learning curve and gives me loads of flexibility when processing my images, but I will continue to shoot film for the sheer fact that it feels like creating a real thing (which makes me shoot more slowly and thoughtfully), and that the look of many film types is hard to duplicate digitally.

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