New Ceramics – The International Ceramics Magazine

Current Issue – New Ceramics 6/2023

In the PROFILES section: Eight ceramic artists from Italy, Germany, Ireland / Germany, Ukraine/USA. Coverage of EXHIBITIONS and EVENTS in Slovenia, Austria, Lettland, Germany, France, South Korea,India. In the section ARTIST JOURNAL, we present Yasuo Hayashi. And we also have interviews with artists IN STUDIO as well as listings of Dates, Courses, Seminars and Markets.


Massimo Luccioli – Italy
Evelyn Hesselmann – Germany
Corinna Smyth – Ireland / Germany
Natasha Dikareva – Ukraine / USA
Barbara Kahlen – Germany

Hotspot for Contemporary Ceramics – Germany
UNICUM 2023 – Slovenia
35th Gmunden Ceramics Market – Austria
Graduates from Riga Academy of Art – Lettland
Saint-Quentin-la-Poterie – France
Friedrich Gräsel – Ceramics & Industry – Germany
Bethlem Gallery – Touching the Surface – UK
Setting the Tone – Strong Women and their Art 1918-1954 – Germany
Ken Eastman in Heidelberg – Germany
Harmony Ceramic Festival – South Korea
Ceramics & Travel – Usbekistan
Squaring the Circle – Ceramics Triennale – India

New literature

Yasuo Hayashi  (Japan) – Ting-Ju Shao 

Ute Naue-Müller – Evelyne Schoenmann – Interview / Developing Skills

DATES / Exhibitions / Galleries / Museums



Evelyn Hesselmann

It can’t be seen in the southern side of town but it can be experienced every two years, a group of artists that has grown to considerable size who have found their studios in rear courtyards. Ceramist Evelyn Hesselmann has her studio gallery here in a quiet side street in friendly neighbourhood. At an early stage, the artist spoke to colleagues and networked with them. Biennially for ten years now, a studio weekend takes place, initiated and still organised by Hesselmann, together with a group of artists as highly motivated as she is.
With the same zest and expertise, Hesselmann has been looking after a ceramics group in adult education classes for several years. It long ago grew into a group of friends. And my journey today from Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate, Bavaria) would be inconceivable without her impressive expert knowledge. Since the Lothar Fischer Museum opened, I have given guided tours there.
The benefactor-artist made his easily life size figures from clay slabs and fired them. He neither modelled the figures nor did he use glaze. Yet nevertheless, the surface and thus the overall look of the pieces is alive, as if it was tinted. As Lothar Fischer died immediately before his museum opened, the processes in constructing and firing the figures remain a mystery to art educators like us. Hesselmann came to us as a visitor.

(Gertrud Kasper)

Evelyn Hesselmann

Corinna Smyth

Kandern, Hauptstraße – the main street. It is only a few steps to the guesthouse, the Krone. August Macke passed through here on his way to visit his sister, landlady at the Krone. We are standing outside Corinna Smyth’s house. A shop window opens onto the pavement, things made of clay are on show. The workshop is deeper inside.
She likes the German word for what is “clay” in English – “Ton”, which means both “clay” and “tone” or “sound”. For her, it covers the sound of the fired vessel, as well as the sounds of the crafting the material. For her, a lot of things come together in experiencing of clay. It is included in the word seomraCré, derived from Gaelic. A commitment to work is seomraCré. And the name she gives it. She inscribes it on the walls of the vessel like a signature.
Corinna Smyth is from Ireland, but she didn’t arrive in Germany as a ceramist. It was a long journey to get to where she is today – until she found ceramics and that became her raison d’être. She speaks of a “passion”. But even if she doesn’t say the word, it resonates when she talks about her work.
She wanted to make vessels. When that was clear to her, she went to Nürtingen, to Susanne Schumacher’s department at the Free Academy of Art. She remembers that she was a blank slate. “I knew I knew nothing.” It was her enthusiasm that carried her forwards. She found the necessary confidence in her sense of form and learned the craft. To this day, shaping a vessel has inexhaustible potential for her.

(Volker Bauermeister)



Corinna Smyth

Natasha Dikareva

Ukranian-American artist Natasha Dikareva came to the US nine years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in order to protect her daughter’s and family’s health, interrupting family and an already successful young career. She settled and raised her artist daughter in Minneapolis, then continued her career in San Francisco.
Ten years ago, Dikareva was described in a New Ceramics article as an artist who wove “fascinating worlds of mythology and contemporary narrative, relying on her rich life experience as an immigrant artist”.
Her career was solidly established and although ceramics was her primary medium, she stretched into bronze casting and blown glass to create her beings and their realms.
The beings she was creating and their dwelling places were their own spiritual realms. The characters were serene, safe and confident in themselves and their settings. A move from the urban west coast to a more rural east coast setting allowed for the creatures to find homes in an ongoing, enchanted forest installation. They were always gently tethered to our world, exploring ideas of journey, or dwelling in conditions where they could explore, or retreat, or be discovered in their vulnerability. In these ways they were and are like us and we are invited to visit their realms, but we are never quite a part of their reality. We meet them and imagine how wonderful it would be if we could just be with them…

(Keith J. Williams)

Natasha Dikareva

Barbara Kahlen

Take a teabowl in both hands, like a book – and drink from both. (BK)
A complete œuvre of teabowl masterpieces is waiting to be discovered. To which the now 80-year-old artist Barbara Kahlen has dedicated her life, very withdrawn, to the point of denying publicity. A “Temporary Museum” dedicated to her was set up in three rooms in Berlin-Dahlem for ten years in the 1990s. She never wanted to open it, she entered it alone to do further research, or only with connoisseurs and collectors “who removed their rings before they picked up the “stoneware”, high-fired in the gas kiln.

I want to make tea bowls that look at me, whose walls rest in my hands, whose lips flatter me, whose clay foot smells earthy giving the tea a special flavour, in which a falling drop echoes the shape, which makes me think. (BK)
A symbiosis of all the elements:
My tea bowls, made from moist earth, grow under my fingers. Ever higher. Like my plants. From the right earth, at the right time.
They bud and bloom in the sun. Or the volcanic gleam of the gas fire. Then they radiate back their warmth and colours in the bright light of the day. Earth, water, fire, air and creative energy, all five Asian elements are involved. (BK)

(Wolf Kahlen)

Barbara Kahlen

The KKM – Ceramic Art Museum

Hannelore Seiffert Foundation  opened in Neunkirchen at the end of August 2023

At the end of August 2023, the KKM Ceramic Art Museum – Hannelore Seiffert Foundation – in Neunkirchen an der Saar was successfully opened. The approximately 300 international visitors on the opening day were enthusiastic about the abundance of ceramic art objects and the newly established museum, which is unique in the region. In the first exhibition of the KKM Ceramic Art Museum, KKM for short, around 250 works by almost 150 contemporary international artists from around 30 countries can be seen, showing a cross-section of contemporary ceramics from the outstanding collection of the Hannelore Seiffert Foundation for Art Ceramics.
All of the speakers at the opening ceremony at the end of August agreed that the KKM was a major gift for the ceramics world, but also for Neunkirchen and the region. The great attention that the KKM already enjoys, even on a political level, was evident in the list of speakers. Markus Müller, head of the Neunkirchen Culture Society, highlighted the KKM as a place where art can be fully experienced. State Secretary Sebastian Thul highlighted the museum as a “place for the active dissemination of knowledge”, while Mayor Jörg Aumann and District Administrator Sören Meng emphasized the additional benefit the museum would provide for the city and region.

(l. to r.) Beatrijs van Rheeden, Monika Gass, Sebastian Scheid, Hannelore Seiffert, Stephanie M. Roos
Nicole Nix-Hauck, Dr. Liane Wilhelmus on opening day photos: KKM


5th International Ceramics Triennial
Ceramics play an increasingly visible role in contemporary art and its international currents, encompassing almost all art forms: sculpture, painting, printmaking, photography, design, architecture, performance art, body art, and video. If its openness in character fuels the need to reflect on the medium continuously, this can also be seen as its potential strength in terms of both the creative process per se and the critical discourse around contemporary art.
Organised by the National Museum of Slovenia, the 5th International Ceramics Triennial UNICUM 2023 is the central international exhibition of contemporary ceramic art in Slovenia. The triennial was conceived by the curator and director of the National Museum of Slovenia, Assistant Professor Ddr Mateja Kos Zabel, and academy-trained sculptor, Professor Emeritus Dragica Cadež Lapajne. UNICUM has become a reference point comparable to similar events worldwide. An international ceramics student exhibition is also on view at the National Museum of Slovenia as part of the triennial, showcasing works by students from Slovenia and Serbia selected by invited tutors. Moreover, the National Museum of Slovenia displays Tanja Lažetic’s exhibition Table for Two and ceramic pieces by Igor Ravbar.

(Zora Žbontar)

IVA BRKIC WALTER (1987, Serbia), SWEET NONSENSE, 2022, porcelain, 50 × 50 × 5 cm
(Recognition Award UNICUM 2023) photo: UNICUM

35th Austrian Ceramics Market in Gmunden 2023

Like every August, Gmunden once again became the centre of outstanding European ceramics, and the ceramics city transformed itself into a wide and vibrant stage for contemporary craft pottery and ceramic art before a breathtaking backdrop on Traunsee lake.
One hundred and thirty exhibitors presented their works, offering a unique opportunity for a comprehensive overview of the European ceramics scene.
The Gmunden Pottery Market, which gives its audience the setting and atmosphere of an impressive outdoor exhibition for ceramic crafts and art, took place for the 35th time, albeit with thunderstorms at night.
This year, special attention was paid to Polish ceramists from the current scene. The group exhibition of the guest country was presented in traditional fashion on Thursday at Orth Castle and the personal exhibition, 45 Years of Barbara Reisinger Ceramics, was opened at the K-Hof, Kammerhof Museum. This notable exhibition spans a wide range of her ceramic work and will be on view until 15 October 2023.
This ceramics market has been steadily growing and thriving for 35 years, a success story that has long since reached the top league of European ceramics events.

(Christoph Hasenberg)

Good Mood, Thomas Berktold

Artist Journal

Yasuo Hayashi  – Japan

“The Sodeisha Group – An Era Born Out of Avant-garde Ceramics”, an exhibition celebrating the 60th anniversary of the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan was on display from 9 July to 24 September 2023. It showcases over one hundred masterpieces of historical significance, including Yasuo Hayashi’s “Clouds” (1948) and Kazuo Yagi’s “Mr. Samsa’s Walk” (1954), along with other ceramic artists who contributed to important breakthroughs in contemporary ceramic art at pivotal points in history.

A professor at Tama Art University and former senior curator at the Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki, Kazuko Todate wrote in her article, “The First Handmade Object”, published in “The Kyoto Shimbun” on 26 May, 2012, that the term “object” made its first appearance in the field of ceramics in 1948. It was “used to describe non-functional non-vessels having no limitations on forms and are meant purely for appreciation.” “Clouds”, a work by the senior ceramicist Yasuo Hayashi (born 1928) is a ring-like structure consisting of six hand-kneaded hollow round shapes of irregular sizes. It is neither a solid sculpture nor a utilitarian object. Todate thought that the work should be regarded as the first object in contemporary Japanese ceramics. It was not only a challenge to traditional ceramics; more importantly, it marked the first ceramic piece in Japan that signified a shift from functional objects to contemporary ceramic works, which holds profound historical significance.


(Ting-Ju SHAO)

Yasuo Hayashi – Japan

In Studio with Ute Naue-Müller

Ute, your training and further education from 1979 to 2001 couldn’t have been more varied. Can you tell us how you came to be a ceramist today?
Without going into too much detail, I was born in Dresden but I spent my childhood in Halle an der Saale, a rather grey city at the time, dominated by the chemical industry. My parents, both scientists, had created a kind of island of the arts for me: piano lessons at the conservatory and a large library full of wonderful children’s books. I painted a lot and knitted with a passion. Quite naturally, the spirit of physics was always tangible in our house, and I was certainly strongly influenced by it. And so I first became an engineer, something “with substance”, especially since the Technical University in Dresden was then and still is a good place to study. So back to the old homeland. Then came the wonderful but stressful phase, the parallel worlds of bearing and raising children, juggling that with working as an engineer. Finally, I sensed a longing to explore new fields of knowledge. At nearly 40, I went back to university again: German studies and art education with fantastic new worlds of images and text. It was during this time that I first came into contact with clay in the university’s ceramics workshop. Then I gathered further experience by working in two traditional local potteries, as well as self-taught learning.

When you look at the gallery on your website, you are initially overwhelmed by the variety of colours in your works. Does this reflect your character, your being?
For me, colour and music are comparable: both wordless and yet they are language. Both speak to me emotionally, so I have a deep-rooted need to express myself creatively through colour.
There is a lot to consider when creating a painterly composition: the chiaroscuro, the play of glossy and matt, colour applied linearly or as a surface, the choice of colour in general, the effect on a three-dimensional object and much more.


(Evelyne Schoenmann)

Ute Naue-Müller