Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Misfits

A dropout, a lone wolf, an outsider, a weirdo, a dissenter, an offbeat, a black sheep… By definition, a misfit is an individual who doesn't fit any conventional norm and is unable to adapt to it. The misfit behaves differently from everyone else in his social environment. I am sure you have met someone in your life who fits the description. Maybe you too are a misfit!

I was always fascinated by those who differ from the rest of the world. They seem to be so much wiser, stronger, more mature and more creative than the average people. Their atypical approach to the world is what makes them so special, as if they observe things from a different point of view. Sometimes, misfits are just ahead of their time and it may take years, decades or centuries for the world to recognise their genius.


Misfits plates, slab built stoneware, 22 cm in length.





Sometimes I create ceramics that are the wrong size or shape for their actual purpose. Still, I use them on a regular basis. Look at those rectangle and uneven plates. I like to think of them as ceramic misfits. They are not really handy to use because of their irregular surface. You can definitely not serve a salad or a slice of pizza on them. But they are just fine if you use them to serve a snack. And I find them beautiful.

 There is one more person who treasures all those small treats served on my misfits.



Monday, 18 February 2013

Contemporary Feirefiz

Sometimes I ask myself what on Earth would my former Professor of Medieval German Studies say if he knew I have named a piece of pottery after a famous character of Wolfram von Eschenbach's Medieval German romance Parsifal. I may be branded a heretic, but I would still like you to meet Feirefiz

Feirefiz cup, wheel-thrown stoneware, 9 cm in height, 12 cm in diameter.

Eschenbach's Feirefiz is a child of a knight called Gahmuret and his first wife, an Arabic queen, Belakane. Feirefiz is also a half-brother of Parsifal. Eschenbach writes that Feirefiz's skin was marbled with white and black patches because his father was white and his mother black. It seems, in medieval times it was the idea of how an interracial person may look like. Anyway, as I read about Feirefiz I had to think about my neriage* ceramics.

My Feirefiz was made in my Viennese studio, years ago, from white and red coloured clay. This technique is called neriage and it is done by combining different coloured clay which is then thrown on the wheel. In this way you can get funny swirly and spirally patterns.

*There is a controversy among the potters about the correct name of this technique. Some call it nerikomi and others call it neriage. 

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

About the Blue


Wheel-thrown bowl, 8 cm in height, 19 cm in diameter.

No, this post is not about feeling sad or blue: It is about my fascination and obsession with a particular glaze. Well, I do not have one favourite colour. Actually, I love all colours. But there were times when I was glazing all my pots with just one glaze – turquoise one. I never know how those glazed pieces of pottery would turn out. The colour-spectrum of that glaze ranges from the light baby-blue, turquoise, cobalt-blue, deep-green to the pitch-black. Opening of the kiln is generally a pure excitement. With that particular glaze it is the thrill of ecstasy!

The main reason why I love this glaze so much is that it reminds me of my homeland Croatia. Since I had grown up at the seaside, I was able to experience the see in all of its moods and colours. Well, it was only after I left Croatia that I actually became aware of its beauty. Yes, I do miss my homeland. I miss my parents, the wind, the fig tree in our garden, the stones and rocky beaches. I miss the smell of pine trees, rosemary, lavender and wild thyme in the air and the chirping of the crickets... But, it is the sea that I miss the most!


The Island of Losinj, Croatia; Photo by Lea Steinmann

Looking at my blue glazed plates, cups and bowls gives me the sense of home. This means a lot for someone, who has been away from home for so long...

So, you will be seeing a lot of blues here! Count on it!




Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Welcome to danci ceramics blog


How it all started!

At the age of eight, in the basement of my childhood home in Croatia I had discovered strange rocks in a load of dark coal we used to heat our home. The rocks were gray and felt warmer and softer then ordinary rocks, so I collected as many as I could, getting all dirty and covered with soot while digging through the piles of coal.
I smashed the rocks with a hammer until they turned into smooth powder; then I added water to it. The result was a homogeneous mass that I used to make a small vase for my dollhouse.

These strange-looking rocks were actually pieces of dried clay that were excavated with coal. That was my first encounter with this wonderful material – clay! It still fascinates me how I intuitively knew exactly what to do with those dry pieces of clay.
In my early twenties I moved to Vienna, Austria. Here I became a member of the Open Ceramics Studio in the WuK (Werkst├Ątten und Kulturhaus) and took a basic wheel throwing course. Soon I quit my job and decided to spend six months doing nothing else but ceramics. That was probably the most fun and creative time of my life.

When I moved to Switzerland in my thirties, I had to start from the beginning. Finally, after a few years of searching, I found a beautiful studio near the river Aare in Berne. At the same time I started with my college studies of German Language and Literature and History of Arts.

Today I live in a small village in the Swiss Alps and, besides being a mother of a gorgeous little boy, I also enjoy working in my vegetable garden and creating new ceramics in my small studio, situated in our 180 years old stone mountain home.

This blog is about ceramics and life "made in Switzerland".