New Ceramics – The International Ceramics Magazine

Current Issue – New Ceramics 3/2024

In the PROFILES section: Five ceramic artists from Austria, Germany, USA, Netherlands, Israel, Belgium, France. Coverage of EXHIBITIONS and EVENTS in Germany, UK, France / Spain, Croatia, Bulgaria, Albania, Kosovo. In the section ARTIST JOURNAL, we present Susan Beiner and Jia-Hong Tsai. And we also have interviews with artists IN STUDIO as well as listings of Dates, Courses, Seminars and Markets.


Josef Wieser – Austria
Sigrid Hilpert-Artes – Germany
Heather Hietala – USA
Harm van der Zeeuw – Netherlands
Shamai Sam Gibsh – Israel
Ruth Stark – Belgium
Maya Micenmacher-Rousseau – France

SEE.ME.NOW. Municipal Gallery Neunkirchen, Saarland – Germany
5th Siegburg Ceramics Prize – Germany
COLLECT, London – UK
Le Don Du Fel – Claudio Casanovas – France / Spain
Chess & Porcelain. The World in 64 Squares – Germany
In the Balkan Regions – Croatia, Bulgaria, Albania, Kosovo etc.

New literature

Susan Beiner (USA) and Jia-Hong Tsai ( Taiwan) – Ting-Ju Shao 

Johanna Rytkölä – Evelyne Schoenmann – Interview / Developing Skills

DATES / Exhibitions / Galleries / Museums



Sigrid Hilpert-Artes

Self-confidently, a beautiful naked woman, a Venus, sits on the back of a fish. With her hands resting on her thighs, she looks straight at the viewer. The fish also seems to be feeling good, cheerfully lifting its head and tail in the air. The richly decorated object is a box with a lid. To access the contents, you have to touch the figure, your hand hugging the body. There is no other way. Sigrid Hilpert-Artes loves the enigmatic, the pleasurable and lush, revealing itself with wit. The stories she inscribes on the vessels are told subtly. She is attracted to ancient mythology as well as to hybrid and mythical creatures, which she combines in many variations. “Ceramics is a beautiful link between painting and sculpture,” says the artist. “I like to use it as a painting surface. It’s good if the figure is already there.”
In her studio in Dresden, visitors get an insight into her multifaceted work. Lidded boxes, jugs, drinking vessels and bowls are individually created. Her art of creating narratives draws on historical sources; she makes each clay figure unique with her images. Hilpert-Artes paints her faience with a sure hand. Every brushstroke is visible, nothing can be erased. In contrast to porcelain, the colour penetrates the surface with this technique. For years she learned about the decorative painting of the Renaissance and Baroque during restoration work in the Semper Gallery, the Italian Village, Ballhaus Watzke (all in Dresden), Görlitz City Theatre and castles in Saxony.

(Doris Weilandt)

Sigrid Hilpert-Artes

Heather Hietala

The vessel form is both universal and personal. A vessel symbolizes a journey and a vessel can symbolize the self. My work concerns itself with the many journeys of life and its unfolding. For many years I was a textile artist working with architectural imagery of staircases and doorways sketched from life, all evoking a sense of journey. Over time the metaphor of journey evolved to being in a boat, the gravitational pull recedes and the journey becomes more spiritual, it is a very different kind of feeling than walking up and down stairs or through doorways. Seedpods, weaving shuttles, canoes, paddles, sailboats and kayaks are part of my personal history. I see the vessel form as universal and timeless, a symbol for the self and one’s journey through life. We are all vessels.
I came to woodfiring to write words into clay and have them survive a woodfire, it was and is still a cathartic gesture for all the words that were lost in a tragic house fire many years ago. After the fire I searched for years to find a way to express this loss, by inscribing words into the surface of the clay I follow in a long tradition of ceramics and text. I record my thoughts, often advice to the vessel and the journey I envision it going on, sometimes inspired by memories of nautical journeys from my childhood and other times in response to current affairs.

Heather Hietala

Ruth Stark

Could I write something for her professional anniversary, Ruth asked. Without thinking twice, I said yes because I value her as a person, as a friend – and as a ceramist.
I realized just as quickly that I would keep the text very personal because I love Ruth’s ceramics: the clear shapes, the reduced palette of her white, anthracite and cream-coloured vessels, which she mainly throws on the wheel. Tableware in small series. Or individual pieces that she also handbuilds. Made of stoneware or porcelain. She discreetly decorates the surfaces with a fine striped pattern or textures them deeply. I can feel the grooves she has scratched into the smooth surface when I hold one of her cereal bowls in my hands. I like that. I think of the traces that life leaves behind. Even on my skin.
By concentrating on the essentials, Ruth brings beauty into my everyday life with her ceramics. A deliberately simple plate also makes a lovingly prepared meal a visual delight. As if by chance and yet deliberately, the vase recedes. Gives priority to the flowers. Her expressive vessel objects stand for themselves. They are art in my home.
Ruth’s ceramics accompany me every day. I am astonished to realise that there are over 30 pieces: bowls, plates, cups, jugs, etc., functional ceramics that I combine in new ways over and over again. But there are also a few special individual pieces. I become aware that I have made Ruths motto my own: “Clay for daily life.” A true enrichment. Thank you, dear Ruth.

(Kirsten Ulrike Maaß)

Ruth Stark

Maya Micenmacher-Rousseau

A Dialogue with Maya Micenmacher-Rousseau
Your work is so outstanding. I’ve been following your style for years – and I love your ceramics!
How did you originally start with ceramics and clay?
I dont remember when I made my first piece. From the age of 14, I received my general education at art school in Israel. I learned all the techniques there and in the second year, I prefered drawing, painting and photography. But I missed working with clay and then attended private pottery lessons at the Tel Aviv Museum with Äti Goren and Raya Stern. When I was 23, I was living in Paris with my parents. It was by chance that I discovered the village of La Borne. I visited all studios that had to do with clay. At the time, I barely spoke French when I did my first internship with a local potter. Then I finished the CNIFOP Arts and Crafts School in Saint-Amand en Puisaye. After graduating there, I continued my ceramics training in various workshops for two years. I learned “good” throwing and felt rather limited by the technique. I then completed my training with Hervé Rousseau. After a few years I managed to free myself from this “apprenticeship” and find my personal style.

Are all of your pieces really fired in a wood kiln? What type of firing process and what type of kiln do you use? Do you change the firing tactics to achieve special results?
All of my ceramic pieces are fired in my 1-chamber wood kiln (2,5m3). From time to time I make small series of porcelain for the electric kiln. I didn’t want a kiln that was too big so that I could fire more often and wanted one that was also suitable for glazed work. I make my pieces for the wood kiln from grogged stoneware clay. They are engobed, decorated and glazed. I fire the wood kiln up to 1300°C, initially oxidizing and toward the end of the firing in a reducing atmosphere. I really like the random aspect of wood firing, when only the flame determines the final result.

(Monika Gass)

Maya Micenmacher-Rousseau

Stephanie Marie Roos

Ceramic images of humanity by Stephanie Marie Roos at the Municipal Gallery in Neunkirchen, Saarland

With a well-attended opening ceremony, the Städtische Galerie Neunkirchen recently opened a solo exhibition with works from the past ten years by ceramic artist Stephanie Marie Roos. The focus of her work is on people, their personal appearance, their identity and their role in society. In addition to contemporary people, Roos’ characters also reflect ideal role models: people who define themselves as a group through clothing, accessories and their attitude. But above all, existential human questions and emotions resonate behind the facade of clothing and accessories. In the Neun-kirchen presentation, the figures are placed in various thematic groups, from almost life-size to miniature figures. In addition to the early groups of works, Roos’ most recent works from 2023 can also be seen, which were created during a scholarship stay in Japan and show portraits of real people.
The topics are contemporary in the best sense, taken from world politics as well as everyday and pop culture. In addition to people from the artist’s real world, ideas often come from photos from the daily flood of images, primarily via digital media, which Roos reflects on in her works and appropriates artistically. It is no coincidence that works such as the Ukrainian mother holding out a cell phone with the picture of her soldier son in front of her, or the system-critical Russian performance artist who cut off her earlobe during a performance, or the climate activist glued to the ground, appear familiar to viewers.

(Liane Wilhelmus)

View of the exhibition

Quality and Diversity – 5th Siegburg Ceramics Prize

Siegburg pottery – who doesn’t immediately think of the historic, almost white stoneware that was exported as a sought-after commodity to many regions of Europe in the 13th to 17th centuries and made the town famous far beyond its borders? Against the background of this great ceramic tradition, in Siegburg particular attention is increasingly being paid to current ceramic developments. The 950th birthday of the city of Siegburg in 2014 was reason enough to offer a prize for modern ceramics, organized by the local authorities, Stadtbetriebe Siegburg AöR – Tourism Department, in cooperation with the city museum. Initially held as part of the annual ceramics market, the Siegburg Ceramics Prize quickly became autonomous and has been awarded in the city museum every two years since 2021, regardless of market events. All professional ceramists from home and abroad are invited to apply.
This is also the case in 2024: from 4 February to 7 April 2024, visitors can expect a wide range of current international ceramics in the spacious museum exhibition galleries, now for the fifth time. Fascinating diversity and inspiring abundance are the right keywords here. In contrast to previous competitions for the Siegburg Ceramics Prize, for the first time no theme was specified – for the museum director Dr Gundula Caspary a positive development. “The prize thus offers a wide field of participation for all directions and trends in contemporary ceramic art.”
Interest among artists was correspondingly great. 113 artists from 23 countries applied, more than at the previous Siegburg Ceramics Awards, from whom the jury ultimately selected 59 for the exhibition at the award ceremony. The majority of participants came from Europe, but some also came from overseas. The age structure was mixed: young talents as well as older established makers were invited to the competition.

(Gudrun Schmidt-Esters)

Heidi Hentze, Arkitekton

Chess and Porcelain – The World in 64 Squares

Porzellanikon Porcelain Museum in Hohenberg an der Eger presents a special
exhibition that runs until 13 October 2024

The number of squares is limited to 64 but the number of moves is almost infinite. Chess is perhaps the most creative game and also the most rational. The “royal game” is known worldwide and has acquired deep cultural significance. For more than 1,000 years, the game of chess has captivated not only kings and scholars but people from all walks of life. Chess has also been interpreted by numerous artists in many different ways over many centuries. While things are usually cool and calculating on the chessboard, chess in art is colourful, full of poetry, magic and humour.
The Porzellanikon in Hohenberg an der Eger is now presenting a unique section of infinity in its new exhibition Chess & Porcelain. The World in 64 Squares. Curator Petra Werner has collected over 100 chess sets and figures, all made exclusively of porcelain. The exhibition can therefore unequivocally claim to be the largest collection of ots kind in Germany. Most of the loans come from Dr Thomas H. Thomsen, who probably owns the largest collection of antique chess sets in Europe. He is the long-time president of Chess Collectors International, a worldwide association of collectors and experts of artistic chess pieces and boards. Dr Thomsen has made his porcelain chess sets and pieces available for the exhibition in Hohenberg. Other exhibits come from collector Reinhard Egert, and others.

Sea Creatures chess set, design: Max Esser, 1923
Staatliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Meissen, h King 8.5 cm Pawn 2.3 cm porcelain board 52 x 52 x h 5 cm
photo – Jahreiss. foto film design, Hohenberg a. d. Eger

Artist Journal

Susan Beiner – USA
Susan Beiner (b. 1962) loves Earth and feels herself to be part of Nature. Her strong connection to the natural world has inspired her to hike, immerse herself in diverse landscapes, and observe flowers and plants. Every step is a manifestation of life. Over the past decades, our natural environment has been severely damaged and altered. Her journeys have given her opportunities to contemplate the extinction of certain species of birds and plants.

Jia-Hong TSAI – Taiwan
In an exhibition in the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Personal Tortuous History of Flesh: Field of Vitality (2023) presented a large, white round table under an unadorned dome. On the table were rotten fruits arranged in order, from which juice seemed to be continuously running out. The decaying shapes of the lifelike fruits gave viewers an illusion that a foul odour was permeating the sanctuary. The atmosphere was solemn, and the viewers could only circle around the table, stopping to examine the fruits. This work by Tsai (b. 1994) was the winner of the 2023 Kaohsiung Award at Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts.


(Ting-Ju SHAO)

Susan Beiner

Jia-Hong TSAI

In Studio with Johanna Rytkölä

Johanna, you are a ceramist body and soul. Tell us about your career.
Welcome to my workshop in Vantaa, the airport city of Helsinki. I live and work in a former village shop, about 10 kilometres from the centre of Helsinki. The store’s large display windows bring a lot of light into the room and there is enough space to work.
From 1980 to 1986 I studied as a ceramic artist at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki (now Aalto University). At that time we had a great education, the curriculum of which was prepared by Professor Kyllikki Salmenhaara (1915-1981), with thorough material studies. So I’m a trained ceramist. However, I have never actually made functional ceramics. I became interested in making sculptures when I was still a student. So I am both a sculptor and a ceramicist.

When you look at the gallery on your website, you are initially overwhelmed by the abstract variety of shapes and colours in your works. Does this reflect your essence, your being?
During my studies I created representational, figurative works whose forms became simpler over time. However, if you take a closer look at my works, you can also discover figurative features. So they are not completely abstract.
Colours are important to me. I love strong, bright or clear colours. I use colour combinations that I find fascinating and atmospheric. I only use colours to achieve a mood. Colour choices often have meanings attached to them, and the colours support my story. The background of the works is usually a story or an experience, a memory. I think ceramics is a great medium because it combines colour and form. In my opinion, ceramic art combines the art of painting and the art of sculpture.

(Evelyne Schoenmann)

Johanna Rytkölä