A presentation about the 2021 Ceramics & Glass bachelor’s class at Konstfack, Stockholm
Artists: Hanna Hjalmarsson, Christian Håkansson, Cornelia Dahlin, Emma Nygård Stare, Isabel Tegström, Johanna Bylén, Mio Elias Halvarsson, Tilde Hansen, Olle Wärme, Malin Pierre
Konstfack – University of Arts, Crafts and Design is a university college for higher education in the area of art, crafts and design in Stockholm, Sweden.
It is quite common for our new students to wonder just what type of programme they’ve actually ended up in. Everybody seems to be doing completely different things and have completely different artistic orientations and interests. Is there anything at all they have in common besides the materials glass and clay? It is true that the education spans a wide area. There are few boundaries in contemporary crafts. In some ways, it’s even freer than the liberal arts. For a student of glass and ceramics, it’s just as legitimate to focus your interest in a craft-based utility tradition than in the contemporary art tradition.
Contemporary crafts could be defined as a meeting between the craft traditions associated with our materials and contemporary views about what art is. This means that every practitioner in the field must take a stand on all the paradoxes and dilemmas that arise in the field of tension between craft’s endurance and contemporary art’s quest for the new and transboundary. The students must, individually, figure out what they want to express and how they will do this. Priorities and choices must be continuously negotiated in relation to artistic intent.
Finding your expression requires hard work, and this year’s bachelor’s students have had to confront not only the resistance offered by their own artistic practice, but also the limitations and obstacles brought by the ongoing pandemic. Yet this dual resistance is not discernible in the works presented here. Or is it? Could it be that what is meaningful and what must be expressed are able to emerge more clearly in these trying times? What is sure at any rate is that this year’s students are exhibiting many interesting works that clearly show the breadth and diversity in contemporary crafts.Mårten Medbo, Senior Lecturer in Ceramics
Hanna Hjalmarsson: Gravel
My younger brother and I both work with stone in a way, he as a machinist in a quarry and I with clay and glaze in my art education.
In my degree project, I have looked at our life choices and how they are valued differently. I want to discuss how my class journey has affected me and what happens to those who choose to stay. With my ceramic sculptures, I create my own versions of the gravel crushing machines from my brother’s workplace and let them tell the story about my feelings from this class journey and for manual labour.
I’m currently starting up a ceramic studio with Isabel, Mio, Emma and Tilde from the class. As soon as it’s finished I will start working on some of my design object, mostly candelabras and vases. I’m also editing film material from the reseach of my exam project Gravel, which might be part of future works.
Christian Håkansson: To Build a Temple
Beyond hierarchies and economic structures, there is something primeval that is difficult to describe. What I do is based on an autonomous creative force, a belief in a sanctuary for art as a borderless place where new worlds can exist. Call it a naive utopia or my own paradise, but there lies my temple.
I’m building the foundation of something new, with a similar theme, but on a smaller scale.
Cornelia Dahlin: Fläta (Braid)
I am a material-based artist and clay worker. I make clay works inspired by various craft traditions and in my degree project I work with the braid and hair. Braiding as a method, language and symbol.
I’m currently working in my studio, producing a small-scale collection of braided flowerpots. During this autumn I will start the MA program CRAFT! at Konstfack.
Emma Nygård Stare: Messed Up Again
My work involves creating collections of objects that often revolve around the repetitive existence of everyday life.
My degree project is an attempt to look into how we relate to and deal with the mess that we create in our homes. By recreating the clutter that often exists in my own home and by paying attention to every object from the pile, I am, in a way, trying to sort through the mess and reflect on how I connect to the objects. I am also facing my fear of allowing the clutter to grow further in size and beyond my control.
I can still pick up these objects and place them wherever I want to, even though some are heavier than others. But one day, they all might get too heavy for me to carry.
I’m currently in the process of starting up a shared ceramics studio along with my fellow former classmates Hanna Hjalmarsson, Tilde Hansen, Isabel Tegström and Mio Elias Halvarsson. I will continue working with ceramic sculpture and explore themes connected to my exam work, but I’m also curious to try new things. This fall I will also have some ceramic sculptures for sale at the gallery and shop Blås & Knåda, from where I was given their yearly grant aimed at Konstfack graduates from the Ceramics & Glass program. The grant consists of a free membership for six months and being able to put things up for display and sale in their shop.
Isabel Tegström: Geo Tree Trunks
It’s so hard to get old without a causeAlphaville – Forever Young
I don’t want to perish like a fading horse
Youth’s like diamonds in the sun
And diamonds are forever
I am currently starting a ceramic studio with some of my classmates, which is very exciting! Other than settling into the new studio I will continue my work surrounding climate, material and nature.
Johanna Bylén: Common Ground
I think of my objects as bodies. They have a relationship and a non-relationship. An interplay, a distance and a foundation.
At the moment I am busy in my workshop working on old and new ideas and projects. This autumn begins my work assisting the artist Jennifer Forsberg. A work which is made possible by a scholarship from The Swedish Arts Grants Committe.
Mio Elias Halvarsson: And yet here we are
My work involves making bodies that in different ways reflect who I am. I feel different from other people and I have a need to express that. I’m searching for a reflection in my surroundings, in my culture, in media and art. I’m fat and transmasculine and I’m looking to find some resemblance. I can’t find it so I have to create it myself. Through materialising bodies that describe what fat transmasculine people can look like, I’m giving myself and people similar to me something that we otherwise are lacking. I insist that I exist.
Right now I’m starting a ceramics studio in Stockholm together with some of my former classmates. We’ll share the studio and be able to carry on with our practices from there. I’m yearning to continue the work of fat queer embodiment. Simultaneously, I feel like anything could happen now.
Tilde Hansen: A Scene of Memories
Memories, clear images of a coffee cup and blurry colour fields of trees, moss and branches. I step into the memory and a wave washes over me. With memory comes place, with place comes people, with people come objects and then come emotions.
A Scene of Memories is a further exploration of the theme memories. This time, I’ve focused on the location of the memory and the things that comes with it. I look for myself in my experiences and I embody what it has been to move forward.
Currently I’m working on setting up a studio together with some former classmates. I’m looking forward to continuing my practice in a new space and without working towards deadlines or assignments like in the past three years. At least for a while! Overall I’m looking forward to seeing how it all works out this fall and realize all my ideas.
Olle Wärme: Spiders
My degree project consists of several spiders made from borosilicate glass.
I am currently working as a freelance glassblower for other artists and also on starting up my own company.
Malin Pierre: Hard Softness
I’m currently working to make more glass objects for an upcoming exhibition in Stockholm. I’m using the same method as I did for my bachelor work.
I’m attracted to the opposition between the soft fabric I use for my original, and the final object in hard glass. My inspiration comes from fashion and haute couture. The result is sculptures with volyme and colors where the surface has traces of fabric.
I use fabric for my originals and which I then use to make a plasterform in layers to get the copy from the fabric inside the mold. Thereafter I remove the fabric and heat up the plaster to blow hot glass in it. After a few days of cooling down the glass in a kiln I carefully remove the plaster and crub the glass to get it shiny.
Photos courtesy of the artists
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