ceramics

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Art Craft

Ceramic Rings Link Nature and Community in Cecil Kemperink’s Elaborate Moveable Sculptures

August 23, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Earth Song.” All images © Cecil Kemperink, shared with permission. Photo by Marja Sterck

Constant motion and transformation underpin ceramic artist Cecil Kemperink’s philosophy, drawing inspiration from the rhythms of nature. Since 2019, she has lived on Texel, an island north of The Netherlands in the Wadden Sea that’s recognized by UNESCO as the largest continuous, undisturbed intertidal ecosystem in the world. The infinite crashing of waves on the shore, grasses or branches waving in the wind, and the way humans interact with these phenomena inspire the artist’s linked, organic pieces that combine sculpture with performance (previously). Her work centers on a sense of connectedness, both ecological and within our communities, that manifests symbolically in the form of links that expand and contract like ceramic chainmail.

Intended to be manipulated and reshaped, each ring is looped to others to create a robust yet delicate fabric that the artist can move around on the floor, suspend from the ceiling, or wear. “Motion is a key part of the expressiveness of my sculptures,” she explains. “The movements show the importance of each circle. Every ring is essential and influences the other; they are all connected. They are all one. Every link wears the symbolism of a circle: conjunction, connection, power, endlessness, an eternally ongoing movement.” In some works, the components vary in size and can be expanded or contracted, while in others, such as “White grey tones,” they are closely connected and emphasize the circular form.

Kemperink’s sculptures bear a significant literal and metaphoric weight: when a piece is worn or carried, there is a strong awareness of its presence, responsibility for its care, and occasionally, the burden of carrying it. Characteristically, there’s also duality in the works’ being both malleable and taut. “The interaction of sculpture and woman/man opens several layers of consciousness,” she explains, as “each relation reveals new sensations, change of feelings, and a different energy. New perceptions are being shaped, multiple points of view arise, and consciousness is in full motion.”

Kemperink’s work “Wishful thinking” is included in the International Academy of Ceramics’ 70th-anniversary member’s exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland, from September 12 to 16. She has also recently started a YouTube channel, and you can find more of her work on her website and Instagram.

 

“Secrets.” Photo by Marja Sterck

“Something sweet in the wind”

Left: “Shaping perception 3.” Right: “Wishful thinking.” Photos by Marja Sterck

“White grey tones”

Reshaping process. Photo by Marja Sterck

“Morninglight”

“Flow motion.” Photos by Marja Sterck

 

 

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Art Craft

Amorphous Ceramic Vessels by Julie Bergeron Merge the Shapes and Textures of Organic Matter

August 8, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images by Alain Delorme, © Julie Bergeron, shared with permission

From her studio in Paris, artist Julie Bergeron hand-builds amorphous stoneware vessels that mimic a wide array of creatures and lifeforms found in nature. Hollow ducts and pointed spines cover the surfaces of the cavernous forms, ambiguously evoking seed pods, tropical fruits like rambutan or durian, and small marine organisms. “I have fun mixing types, blurring the tracks… Are we in the vegetal, animal, microscopic, or human world? The borders become undefined,” she tells Colossal.

Inspired by the biological illustrations of Ernst Haeckel, Bergeron uses a coiling technique to shape the initial bodies before engraving or covering the forms in repeating patterns. She leaves the works unglazed so that the minerality and organic textures of the clay remain intact, the final steps of a process she explains in further detail:

When I start my pieces, I don’t have a specific idea. Gradually the sculpture takes shape, and I let myself be guided by its curves and its irregularities. The name of the piece comes to me when it is finished depending on what it evokes to me or the emotion felt. Often the sculptures seem alive to me.

The Quebec-born artist has a few pieces available from Suzan in Paris, and her Instagram features a trove of vessels and glimpses into her process.

 

 

 

 

 



Craft

Adorably Emotional Creatures Comprise Nosey Mungo’s Playful Ceramic Menagerie

July 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Helen Burgess, shared with permission

In the hands of Helen Burgess, goofy grins, bloated bellies, and eyes wide with surprise turn endangered or overlooked animals into endearing creatures with playfully exaggerated emotions. The British ceramicist, who works as nosey mungo (previously), sculpts quirky renditions of wildlife and other critters—she prefers to focus on conservation issues and species struggling to survive— crafting kooky pufferfish covered in spikes and chicks with tiny beaks poking out from their downy, yellow bodies.

Currently, Burgess is working on a collection of marine wall hangings, and you can follow her progress, along with shop updates and glimpses into her process, on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Hundreds of Oblongs and Discs Undulate Across Marianne Huotari’s Ceramic Sculptures

July 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Ananasakäämä.” Photo by Anna Autio. All images © Marianne Huotari, shared with permission

Dating back to the Vikings, ryijy is a distinctly Finnish textile tradition that produces thick, high-pile tapestries and rugs. The heavily patterned works, which have shifted from functional to decorative, are made by hand-knotting wool and layering the yarn into lush, textured motifs.

Drawing on her background in textile design, Finnish artist Marianne Huotari translates this technique into ceramics, creating densely delicate reliefs that evoke the depth and dimension of fiber. Huotari begins every work with a color palette and surface, whether in the form of a wall-based piece or a freestanding sculpture. She then rolls and pinches clay into oblongs and small discs imprinted by her fingertips for added texture, each pierced to create a small hole for a bit of metal thread. Once glazed and fired, the individual components are sewn into undulating topographies layered lush with color and rippling shapes. Huotari shares with Colossal:

The process is super slow but very meditative thanks to its repetitive nature. Throughout the process, I attempt to take control of the material by dismantling and reassembling the parts, which is not very common when talking about ceramic art. That provides me the freedom to make changes on the go. The technique provides countless possibilities… In the near future, I’ll be focusing on developing the sculptural expression and searching for the limits of dimensions.

The Helsinki-based artist was recently named a finalist for this year’s Loewe Foundation Craft Prize, which is hosting an exhibition at Seoul Museum of Art through July 31. She also has pieces on view through August 19 at HB381 Gallery in New York and through the end of August at Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center in Denmark, where she will be a resident this fall. Watch the video below and head to Instagram for a glimpse into Huotari’s process, and browse available pieces at Officine Saffi. (via Journal du Design)

 

“Tipsy and Dazzled by Festives.” Photo by Anna Autio

“Mandarin Garden.” Photo by Jefunne Gimpel

Detail of “Mandarin Garden.” Photo by Jefunne Gimpel

Detail of “Tipsy and Dazzled by Festives.” Photo by Anna Autio

Left: “Moment in the Shade.” Photo by Anna Autio. Right: “Eden’s Euphoria.” Photo by Anna Autio

“Shallows.” Photo by Anna Autio

“Wild as Lupine.” Photo by Hanna Kaketti

 

 



Craft

Minimal Faces Emerge From Sandra Apperloo’s Lanky Patterned Bud Vases

April 4, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Sandra Apperloo, shared with permission

Nestled within polka-dotted expanses, stripes, and leafy motifs are Sandra Apperloo’s miniature faces. The quirky characters with pointed noses, freckles, and tiny, black eyes are part of the Utrecht-based ceramicist’s line of Weirdo Bud Vases, which are just wide enough to hold a stem or two within their tall, slim bodies. To create each piece, Apperloo (previously) hand-builds the rounded vessel, slip-casts facial features and arm-like handles, and finally, paints strands of hair and colorful patterns. The playful ceramics tend to sell out quickly, so you’ll want to keep an eye on her Instagram for announcements about shop updates. The next release is slated for April 10.

 

 

 



Art

Peculiar Characters by Sophie Woodrow Flaunt a Bizarre Array of Costumes and Hybrid Features

March 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

Photo by Ben Dowden. All images © Sophie Woodrow, shared with permission

Uncanny hybrid bodies, peculiar garments, and innumerable unearthly details comprise Sophie Woodrow’s troupe of porcelain figures. Living and working in Bristol, the artist sculpts the delicate, white material into characters that blur the line between nature and culture: giant ribbons wrap a horned bull in a bow, a face emerges from a cloud-like form, and multiple heads sprout from a single neck. Evocative of Leonora Carrington’s surreal creatures—the tall “Hearing Trumpet” figure is a nod to Carrington’s bizarre novel by the same name—Woodrow plays with artifice and makes it difficult to distinguish bodily features from costume or accessory.

Throughout her practice, Woodrow continually references art history, and she’s currently working on a series that contrasts wild landscapes with the human impulse to manicure and tame nature’s unruliness. You can follow her progress on Instagram. (via Women’s Art)

 

Left: “Hearing Trumpet,” porcelain, 45 centimeters. Right: “Woodwose,” porcelain, 15 centimeters

Left: “Cirrus,” porcelain, 29 centimeters. Right: “Lamas,” porcelain, 23 centimeters

“Chorus,” porcelain, 42 centimeters

“Bull,” porcelain, 16 centimeters. Photo by Ben Dowden

 

 

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