New Ceramics – The International Ceramics Magazine

Current Issue – New Ceramics 5/2023

In the PROFILES section: Eight ceramic artists from Belgium, UK, Germany, Czech Republic, Germany/Korea. Coverage of EXHIBITIONS and EVENTS in Portugal, Germany, USA, France, UK, USA/Japan, Morocco, Italy. In the section ARTIST JOURNAL, we present Piet Stockmans and Hyangjong Oh. And we also have interviews with artists IN STUDIO as well as listings of Dates, Courses, Seminars and Markets.


Patty Wouters – Belgium
John Mackenzie – UK
Youkyung Sin – Germany / Korea
Yves Malfliet – Belgium
Hana Novotna – Czech Republic
Sybille Abel-Kremer – Germany

Clay Kitchen – Portugal
Antje Scharfe at 70 – Germany
Belgers Art – USA
Residency at the Leach Pottery – UK
Maison Gramont, Fanjeaux – France
Toilet & Co – Sanitary Ware – Germany
Train Kiln in Homberg – Germany
Transcendent Clay / Kondo – USA / Japan
SAFI – Capital of Ceramics – Morocco
62nd Faenza Prize 2023 – Italy
Des Moines Art Center – USA

New literature

Piet Stockmans (Belgium) and Hyangjong Oh (Korea) – Ting-Ju Shao 

Sabina Betz – Evelyne Schoenmann – Interview / Developing Skills

DATES / Exhibitions / Galleries / Museums



Patty Wouters

Patty Wouters was recently invited by the City Council of her hometown, Brasschaat (near Antwerp, Belgium) for a solo exhibition to overview her recent work. It represented an opportunity for her to survey a major change and development in her practice; she had last been invited to install a solo show in the same venue 16 years ago.
The work takes its inspiration from the nature of clay, as well as from the life. The work is highly considered in the way that material characteristics have also become part of the message transmitted by ceramic. Clay is dichotomous – it can have two very different lives: permanent, yet also (strangely) ephemeral: when it dries it goes hard and breakable; clay when exposed to the rain will return to the soil that it came from. On the other hand, clay, when exposed to fire, it becomes one of the most permanent of historic materials and examples are represented in the collections of museums around the world. Clay may be permanent when it has been high fired, but it also becomes dangerously brittle. This has become the basis for the investigations into concepts of fragility and vulnerability which has evolved into the dominant theme for much subsequent work.
Adopting an archetype of evolutionary change has proven highly significant in the work. There was a dialectic between the metaphor and the artistic process – the cocoon became a symbol of the evolution of the artist; a chrysalis is an icon that represents the idea of rebirth.

(David Jones)

Patty Wouters

John Mackenzie

A studio visit at the tip of Cornwall
Since my last visit to St. Ives, the Leach Pottery had changed a lot. It reopened as a museum some years ago and I was happy to visit this place this year. The shop is showing different potters from the area and so there were quite a few pots from John Mackenzie, too. A nice coincidence, for I was going to meet him later the same day in his studio at Penzance. The pots I saw on Instagram attracted me and I wanted to see and touch theses beautiful lush porcelain pieces and so planned to visit him.
R.B.: Where do you come from, John?
J.M.: My Mum and dad moved down here (Penzance) just before I was born, I have 3 sisters and a brother. So I grew up here but I moved away to London for studies. I was always interested in art and making work in three dimensions. When I studied A-level ceramics, my desire to use clay in the future really crystallised. At that point in time the UK had quite a few options in terms of degree level ceramics courses and sadly the course I did does not exist any more.
So I went to Harrow Campus at Westminster University. I chose Harrow because it had unique kiln building facilities and that really sparked my imagination. At that point in time I had only put things in electric kilns and I hadn’t fired a kiln myself. It had always been something someone else had done.

(Ralf Burger)


John Mackenzie

Youkyung Sin

Monika Gass talks to
How did you start working creatively? As a child? Do you come from a creative family?
Children are astonishing artists. I have already experienced this through my children. But it is difficult to stay creative while growing up. I was probably more creative and had a raw, more unclouded imagination than I have now. I’ve gradually lost this ability, not entirely, but quite a lot of it. But as an artist, I always try to avoid average work that can simply be called nice and ideal. I actually learn a lot from my children. Their art inspires me and fires my imagination. They are my best art teachers. That’s why I love spending time with my kids and watching something amazing emerge before my eyes every time.

You have already studied in Korea and received a master’s degree in design – in ceramics?
I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Ewha University in Korea (2007), and I studied ceramics there for 4 years, both traditional ceramics and craft ceramics. After that, I got a Master of Design degree at Kookmin University. At that time I was working in the slipcasting technique. In Germany I studied at the IKKG (Institute for Ceramic and Glass Art) and did a lot of installations at the time, which I find a bit of an adventure for me.

Youkyung Sin

Yves Malfliet

Monika Gass talks to
We have known each other for many years – always with figurative and – with respect – provocative works: What is your work about?
Personally, I don’t really feel that my work is provocative. I realize that some ideas are confrontational, an alienation that is sometimes difficult to categorize. It is also true that I am a “loner” in my artistic expression, not related to contemporary trends in the world of contemporary art, including contemporary ceramic art. Perhaps it’s also the case that it is a stimulus, because in the world of ceramics it’s unusual to focus solely on the conceptual, the idea, the poetic aspect – often the attention is also on the handling of the material (the craft). For me, the craft is not a philosophy and is subordinate to the concept. It’s just a tool to express my ideas.
In contemporary art, I am conspicuous because I use a medium that is not common there – to make “art for art’s sake”, a material that in that field is classified as belonging more in the world of craft.
My style is multifaceted and without limits. Hardly any consideration is given to rules and standards of craft. If I’m being honest, I secretly amuse myself by doing precisely the “wrong thing”, the opposite of the traditional, a bit antithetical. In the world of ceramics, I would rather be an “enfant terrible”. Speaking for myself, I don’t consider myself a ceramist but rather a contemporary artist working with the medium of ceramics, a loner working and thinking outside all existing trends and approaches in the contemporary art world. You can approach my work as conceptual, expressionist, surrealist, symbolic and with so many -isms, but the most important thing is that I manage to convey a certain disconcerting, captivating atmosphere, often explosive in colour, sometimes not, but which intrigues the viewer and invites them to further consume the work!

Yves Malfliet

Antje Scharfe at 70

Exhibition at the Velten Museums
Antje Scharfe lost her tiled stove. 25 years ago. It was simply demolished. She kept the tiles, because in general, in her refuge, her workshop in Zepernick, nothing is ever lost.
Everything is carefully saved, guarded, preserved – gifts, lucky shards, found objects, flagstones “harvested” from old churches. And what does she do? She creates something new.
When the “world pause button” was pressed several times in 2020/2021, Antje Scharfe dared to make a sphere again; a globe was formed. It measures 50 cm in diameter and, in ceramic dimensions, that is huge… Compared to our planet, however, it forms a small world. But what a world – like all her work cycles, whose themes often accompany her for years, even decades. It is a world full of discoveries, quotes in the true and in the figurative sense, peppered with images, structures, a whole range of surfaces, animated with words.
Strolling around Antje Scharfe’s studio, which tells you so many charming things about life, new perspectives, different angles, encounters arise with every visitor.

(Nicole Seydewitz)
EINE GRATULATION (“Congratulations”) on the ceramist’s 70th birthday
25 June – 10 October 2023
Ofen- und Keramikmuseen Velten
Wilhelmstraße 32-33
16727 Velten, Germany

Silhouettes from the cycle, STILL-LEBEN-GEFÄSSE, (“Stil-Life-Vessels”), DUNKEL IN DER NACHT (“Dark in the Night”, left) and STREUBLÜMCHEN (“Scattered Flowers”, right), bone china, decals, on a paraffin base, h 25 x w 41 x d 10 cm (left), h 28.5 x w 30 x d 10 cm (right), 1992 and 2021

Belger Arts’ Tenth Annual Resident Exhibition

This year Belger Arts celebrates a significant milestone: the tenth year of its Artists in Residence programme, which originated at Red Star Studios, a long-time Kansas City ceramics gallery and studio. After its closing, the programme found a permanent home in May 2013 when Belger Crane Yard Studios opened. Belger Crane Yard Studios continues to host national and international artists through the programme, providing ceramic artists the opportunity to expand their body of work or create a special project that may be outside of the scope of their routine studio practice.
The group exhibition, with its range of styles, themes, and techniques, also marks a milestone for the six artists, as it is the culmination of their time in the residency programme. Through porcelain, a ceramic material originating from the East and popularized by the West, Cindy Leung facilitates conversations around topics such as consumerism, colonization, and cultural hybridity. Sun Young Park combines clay and non-clay materials to create large, abstract sculptures that reflect how she processes and translates her reality and explores the duality of the material and the conceptual. Adams Puryear documents pop and internet culture, combining traditional techniques and contemporary imagery inspired by the internet’s “anti-filter.”

Nicole Woodard , Bra, Panties and Socks , Coveralls and Grif Tank, 2023, stoneware, stain , 32 x 11.4 x 6.4 cm

Ceramics in Fanjeaux

Exploring the south of France, traveling between cities like Toulouse, Carcassonne, Marseille, Montpellier and Perpignan, on your way to the Mediterranean Coast or even heading to Pyrenees and Barcelona Spain… It is there where you will find Fanjeaux. Fanjeaux, a charming village with Roman origin rebuilt in the Middle Ages is quite a tourist village. It has a history with the Cathars and the foundation of the Dominican Order.
Here lives and works Antoon Pit, “le directeur artistique” of association Maison Gramont. Supported by the local authotity and volunteers the dedicated artistic director organizes the annual comprehensive international exposition which this year is open from 17th June to 17th September. In previous months he traveled extensively to visit the artists. Pit also chooses the works to be exhibited himself. Hours of preparing, comparing and composing in mind preceded it. Now it all comes together in The Maison Gramont Exposition housed in a restored 18th century building with 17 rooms.

Joyce Altheer, 3SMN, 2023, stoneware, 54 x 26 x 23 cm

Artist Journal

Piet Stockmans – Belgium
A coffee cup called Sonja sold 40 million units from 1967 to 1986. It was designed by Piet Stockmans (born 1940), who was then 27 years old and worked as a designer at the Koninklijke Mosa BV, Holland.
Born in Leopoldsburg, Belgium, Stockmans is the founder of Studio Pieter Stockmans, a renowned representative of Belgian brands. From vessels to installations, he has constructed his expressions and interpretations of design and art forms with elegance and poetic aesthetics.

Hyangjong Oh – Korea
Hyangjong Oh (born 1964) was born in Gwangju Metropolitan City. During his university years, he focused on throwing and moulding techniques and took on the challenge of creating large-scale works. He was greatly impressed during a visit to a potter’s workshop in South Jeolla Province when he saw how an onggi maker effortlessly created a one-metre-high urn within an hour. He learned various techniques from five onggi masters, from the technical aspects of making large urns and small jars to kiln building and mastering the use and control of fire in the kiln.

(Ting-Ju SHAO)

Piet Stockmans – Belgium

Hyangjong Oh – Korea

In Studio with Sabina Betz

Sabina, I always like to invite guests who have not done classic ceramics training but simply indulge in their passion for ceramics. Please tell us how you came to be involved in ceramics.
Oh – I remember it well! During my first year of training at the teacher training college (1976), pottery was also on the schedule. I loved it and continued to attend classes for the following 2 years.
I later met my teacher from back then when we were both working at a special-needs day school, where we experimented with low-firing techniques and then also attended a course together with Stefan Jakob, where we built an “Ochsnerkübel” raku kiln (made of a galvanised steel refuse bin). Now I finally had my own kiln and there was no stopping me: I set up a studio at home and worked with clay whenever I had a spare minute.
In time, I added a raku gas kiln and a small electric kiln, which enabled me to fire at higher temperatures and also to venture into porcelain.

Did the many courses you attended and the well-known artists you met influence you in any particular direction?
Yes absolutely! Probably the most important thing from the encounters with Stefan Jakob, Shozo Michikawa, Fritz Rossmann, Markus Klausmann, Peter Beard, Alberto Bustos, Curtis Benzle and many others was the message that they stated more or less in so many words: “Be brave and try things out, play with the material and create something of your own!”

(Evelyne Schoenmann)

Sabina Betz