New Ceramics – The International Ceramics Magazine

Current Issue – New Ceramics 1/2022

In the PROFILES section: Eight ceramic artists from Belgium, UK, Germany, Italy. Coverage of EXHIBITIONS and EVENTS in Netherlands, Greece, Germany, Denmark, Italy, France, Belgium, Romania, Australia, USA. In the section ARTIST JOURNAL, we present Alessandro Gallo and Wookjae Maeng. And we also have interviews with artists IN STUDIO as well as listings of Dates, Courses, Seminars and Markets.



Guy van Leemput – Belgium
Dora Varkonyi – Germany
Lowri Davies – UK
Sophie Ronse – Belgium
Fiorenza Pancino – Italy
Lena Biesalski – Germany

Kintsugi – Evelyne Schoenmann Traditional methods

Love Suffering Lust – Tegelen  – Netherlands
Contemporary Greek Ceramics –  Kalabaka – Greece
Maria Geszler-Garzuly – Heidelberg – Germany
A Fairy Tale in Clay – Middelfart – Denmark
Neapolitan Nativity Scenes – Naples – Italy
Saint Sulpice Céramique  Paris – France
A bowl carries the whole universe  Ghent – Belgium
Galateea Contemporary Art Gallery  Bucharest – Romania
Study Group  Sydney – Australia
Schütte in New York    New York – USA

Alessandro Gallo (Italy) and Wookjae Maeng (Korea) – Ting-Ju Shao

Jürg C. Bächtold – Evelyne Schoenmann – Interview / Developing Skills

DATES / Exhibitions / Galleries / Museums



Lowri Davies

Lowri’s tableware is a little world of its own that spreads out on the table. Like herself, everything is of a transparent fragility, of extraordinary perfection, and it is scarcely credible that a single pair of human hands can achieve such works. Lowri lives in Wales, a country that even today consists to a large extent of wild nature reserves, like a peninsula besieged by the Atlantic. Where low shrubs make entry impossible, where the language has survived over three thousand years. We are familiar with the way ceramics and the great art of the initiates is treated there, and with the Aberystwyth Festival.
She grew up with this clear voice, a fresh wind blows around her. During our conversation, English is foreign to both of us and I regret being unable to understand her magical Brythonic language, the ancient Celtic words as spoken in Cardiff. Interestingly, the word “Britain” derives from this language. In her childhood, Lowri spent a lot of time with her grandmother in southern Snowdonia. For that generation of women, the collection of porcelain symbolised a cultivated personality. As a small girl, she was fascinated by a number of porcelain figures and repeatedly asked what they meant. 

(Astrid Michel-Zwick)

Lowri Davies

Sophie Ronse

Being a ceramist implies that the person who practises this branch of sculpture claims the status of demiurge. Is it not he/she who must, to achieve their creation, master the four elements as well as possible? Earth, water, air and fire combine to produce an object born of their enigmatic alchemy. As this very production has the capacity either to be of everyday use, to which the craftsman humbly dedicates himself, or to become material and shape to bear testimony to a vision of the existence and the universe the artist is working on with the pride of those who are likely to renew our perception of the world.
Sophie Ronse’s career is quite unusual. Indeed, having seen the monumental sculptures of her beginnings, one could hardly have imagined that she would now focus on intimistic works. However, these first constructions, abstractions without any rigorous geometry, thus almost without strict angles, with the exception of Nihil, had in their DNA of clay the curves which constitute the base of her present aesthetic.
The curve is par excellence what moves, insinuates itself, caresses, gets through everywhere without resorting to the radical violence of the straight line. We link it with femininity, the ability to achieve the serenity of what rounds angles, an antinomic dynamism towards immobility and especially the absence of mobility. It is a sign of genesis.
Sophie Ronse went through the transitional stage of fragments. Islands with irregular and jagged outlines, kinds of mini-continents adrift, scattered or gathered in an archipelago, which already at that stage were ready to be given orientation.

(Michel Voiturier)

Sophie Ronse

Fiorenza Pancino

Fiorenza Pancino is one person, and many. Like everybody, perhaps. But as soon as you talk to her, or go into her studio, this plurality is immediately obvious. Her identity can be defined in terms of what she is not: no longer Veneta (but she will be forever Veneta at least in part); not forever a native of Faenza (but she has strong ties to this small city); not a ceramist (because for her, limiting her work to an object is mortal sin); not just a contemporary artist (because labels are never a comfortable fit). When we began talking about this article, a provocative idea soon emerged: perhaps we could treat it not in subtractive, but in cumulative terms? In this case it would no longer be necessary to have a rigidly-defined “I”, but rather work on “we”, a multitude that refers to all those preferences that do not define her, but that include those fragments that collectively nurture her. Abandoning a singular voice to embrace the idea of “we”, which after all is the “we” of a shared narrative, is a way of expressing the “we” that also fuels novels by Annie Ernaux, for example. At a certain time in the past, this writer declared:
For me, writing is first and foremost a mode of existence – when I am not writing I feel useless, empty – and also a way of intervening on the world, revealing the things that I find striking but that could have been striking for anyone. Increasingly, it is also a fight against oblivion, that of History and our collective life, in an age that seems to me to be an age of impermanence and of emotions without memory.1

(Irene Biolchini)

Fiorenza Pancino

Lena Biesalski

The ceramist Lena Biesalski uses the vessel both as pictorial space and as a spatial object. Playfully, drawings and words circle around, supplying fragments of a story. In the closed circle of the vessel, both text and image always come together.
Memories and recent events are included as building blocks, but so are quotations and excerpts from poems – “everything we come across every day”, as Biesalski says. Sometimes, a quotation she has found gives the impetus for a drawing, sometimes it is exactly the other way around. The colour reflects the poetic character of the pieces: restrained and usually in pastel shades, it lends the vessels a dreamlike and ephemeral quality. Chalky areas in shades of white, grey and blue form a canvas for the sketchily scored motifs.
This scrapbook character raises questions and leaves the viewer a lot of room for their own thoughts, associations and imaginings. What happened before? What comes next? “We are all fragments”, it says on an oval vase whose blue brushwork seems to be dripping slowly from its surface. 

(Stephanie Stroh)


Lena Biesalski

KINTSUGI A new look at beauty

If we look around us, we cannot ignore it: we are living in a material world, as pop diva Madonna once bluntly put it. Goods are bought, used and disposed of as if there were no tomorrow. And yet there are people for whom, for instance, a piece of broken ceramics means a lot. In the course of our lives, we humans too acquire a lot of scars. Some endeavour to hide them, cover them up or even have them surgically removed. And yet others have no problem showing that they have a story to tell.
Several years ago, I became aware of the Japanese tradition of kintsugi, or more rarely kintsukuroi: delicate gold landscapes on once-broken ceramics. They are restored using the kintsugi technique in order to use them again or to show them off as beautiful objects without concealing their past. On the contrary, in the final stage of this technique when the gold is applied, the cracks and break lines (called keshiki) are even emphasised. You may find it strange that Japanese society of all places, which we see as perfectionist and which is a world leader in technologies like electronics, car manufacturing and precision optics, paradoxically commits itself so strongly to preserving the old, broken or much used as things of beauty. Restoring a broken or chipped vessel has a lot to do with philosophy.
A variety of kintsugi sets are now available on the market. Some make possible the traditional, laborious working method whereas others make life easier to the extent that the whole thing can be dealt with in an abbreviated procedure. 

(Evelyne Schoenmann)

Mike Martino: Izumiyama porcelain teabowl with gold repair (detail)    photo – Mike Martino

“Love Suffering Lust”- passion in ceramics

As of this week, a new and exciting exhibition is on show at Tiendschuur Tegelen.  This exhibition responds to a need many have felt since Corona: hunger of skin, cuddling, physical contact. It takes some courage to come and see the exhibition. When visiting the exhibition, the current hygiene regulations in force in the Netherlands must be observed.
The exhibition can be visited up to and including 16 January 2022.
The new exhibition at the Tiendschuur shows passion in all aspects. Pain, rage, fear, uncertainty, hope, dreams, longing, love, suffering and lust: in other words, sorrow and misery in ceramics. Exciting sculptures with even more exciting stories. From the story of the Passion up to old mythology to 50 shades of grey. This exhibition will give the visitor the creeps, will embarrass them, make them blush, smile and cry a tear. The ceramic sculptures in this exhibition have been made by artists from home and abroad. In spite of their different origins and backgrounds, they are one in their aim to catch our universal emotions in sculptures. 

Elsa Alayse, Trêve n°81.i, 41 x 40,5 x 5 cm

Artist Journal

Alessandro Gallo   (Italy)
Alessandro’s (1974) hybrid sculptures of humans and animals are filled with the tension of expressions that trigger the viewer’s curiosity and imagination. The male or female bodies, including the groups of various kinds of animals, subtly uncover the primitive side of human animosity. 

Wookjae Maeng  (Korea)
Maeng’s (1976) animals act as representatives of humans in the theatre of humanity in the world. These lively and refined white porcelains of animals are the protagonists in every scene which may reflect human ideas and values, and metaphorize and exemplify human behaviours and thoughts. 

(Ting-Ju SHAO)


Alessandro Gallo

Wookjae Maeng

In Studio with Jürg C. Bächtold

Jürg, I’d like to start with your background, as I do with all my guests. In your youth, did you know you wanted to be a ceramist or did that come later?

Yes, it came much later although I did a lot of drawing and painting when I was young. Of course I didn’t miss out the typical thumb pots when I was at school. I trained as a machine mechanic and then I worked in the aviation industry for many years. I came to ceramics about forty years ago. First as a hobby and then it finally took hold of me. In the first few years, I taught myself a lot. I had to learn the hard way because a lot went wrong. But I think I gained a lot of essential experience that way and I learned a lot. I built my first wheel myself, a kickwheel. And I also taught myself to throw. I was never able to peek over a potter’s shoulder. But nevertheless, after many failures I managed to throw quite passable tableware and to sell it as well. For about ten years, I made wheel-thrown tableware, developed the glazes myself and even then I was firing in a gas kiln. After a time I decided to devote myself entirely to handbuilding and to art. At that time, I attended workshops and courses to acquire some basic knowledge.

(Evelyne Schoenmann)

Jürg C. Bächtold