New Ceramics – The International Ceramics Magazine

Current Issue – New Ceramics 2/2024

In the PROFILES section: Five ceramic artists from UK, USA, Germany, South Korea. Coverage of EXHIBITIONS and EVENTS in Japan / Germany, Germany, Singapore, Switzerland, Germany, Peru / Switzerland, South Korea, UK, France, Austria. In the section ARTIST JOURNAL, we present Aico Tsumori and Chih-Chi HSU. And we also have interviews with artists IN STUDIO as well as listings of Dates, Courses, Seminars and Markets.


Claire Ireland – UK
Nan Smith – USA
Steve Hilton – USA
Franziska M. Köllner – Germany
Tae Keun Yoo – South Korea

Akio Takamori at the Keramikmuseum Westerwald – Japan / Germany
Coke firing experiments in Waldenburg – Germany
Sabina Hunger – Germany
9th Nanyang Clay Group Exhibition – Singapore
Charlotte Hodes – Switzerland
H.Kohl / S.Steinbeck – Germany
The Culture of the Moche – Peru / Switzerland
Cheong-Ju Craft Biennale 2023 – South Korea
BCB Stoke-on-Trent 2023 – UK
150th Anniversary of the Keramikfachschule Landshut – Germany
Seeing the Light – France
7th Innsbruck Ceramics Symposium – Austria
Comeback of the Bosen Woodfire Kiln – Germany

New literature

Aico Tsumori (Japan) and Chih-Chi HSU ( Taiwan)- Ting-Ju Shao 

Tineke van Gils – Evelyne Schoenmann – Interview / Developing Skills

DATES / Exhibitions / Galleries / Museums



Claire Ireland

When approaching Claire Ireland’s studio one is confronted with the massive and impressive tower of the London Museum of Water & Steam in Brentford near Kew Gardens, West London. This historical site has not always been a museum. It was once the fully operational Kew Bridge Waterworks; you can still admire today the huge pumping stations which supplied water to a large section of West London.
Claire Ireland’s studio is part of the on-site artist and crafts studio complex at the museum and it’s not surprising that some of Claire’s sculptural forms have a kind of industrial quality to them, reminiscent of mechanical, man-made geometric objects, spindles, rings, squares, inspired by the mechanics of the first machines and steam engines of the early industrial revolution.
However, Ireland often combines these geometric and minimal forms with natural objects, small twigs, dried plants, feathers etc. These 3D collages take on a poetic quality and are a series of surprising and unexpected compositions that communicate a precarious yet successful balance between their contrasting elements.

(Regina Heinz)

Claire Ireland

Nan Smith

Two white candles, their charred wicks like sightless eyes, overlook the radial symmetry of an undulating, glassy blue disk: a surface of water agitated into concentric ripples by the dipping beak of a black-and-white bird. The tonal dichotomy of the creature’s plumage underscores an imperative. The bird drinks to maintain the hydration necessary to life; it drinks or it dies. Likewise in the black and white of an either/or, an empty bowl, empty cups, and a tipped pitcher spilling out its own disk of rippling blue serve as reminders that birds are not the only animals vitally dependent on water. Do the extinguished candles lament a lapsed vigilance? Are they half-melted accoutrements of a wake? As climate change increasingly elevates water, through extremes of scarcity and excess, to the status of destroyer of worlds, even subtle messages like those carried by the Thirsty Nest still lifes of American ceramist Nan Smith press with crystalline clarity the message that opportunity is not infinite. The time to act is short as a candle length and consequential as a dying flame.
The content of Smith’s sculptures plays freely with the poignancy of fleeting moments, but complicit in the effect is the factor of a loaded genre. In Western art, the history of the still life is laced with pathos, a consequence of frequently staged allegories in which ephemerality plays a principal rhetorical role.

(Glen R. Brown)



Nan Smith

Steve Hilton

Steve, you are well known as an artist, teaching, travelling a lot…
… I`m not sure how well known I am, but I sure love teaching, making art
and traveling.

You are a professor, have studied art, ceramics and education: how did you get your start in ceramics?
My original degree was in Environmental Geology. I was a predominately an oceanography, astronomy, and environmental science teacher for more than 15 years before I discovered clay. I also taught math, science, history, English and sailing on a 140-foot sailboat in addition to managing a scuba diving business on the island of Vava’u in Tonga, and taught snowboarding for two seasons in Salt Lake City, UT. However, in addition to these amazing experiences, I also had a few less glamorous “lives”: I painted houses, sold vacuum cleaners door to door and loaded trucks for UPS.
I mention all these experiences because the result is what made me realize that when one says yes, more than no, one never knows where that might take them.
Now to the question – It was during my time teaching at a high school that my best friend, who happened to be the ceramics teacher, asked me if I wanted to try my hand at making pottery.
Initially, I hesitated and said no a few times, but he knew just how to convince me. “Steve”, he said, “you’re a cheapskate. If you make pots, you’ll never have to buy another Christmas gift.”

(Monika Gass)

Steve Hilton

Franziska M. Köllner

What made you choose ceramics originally?
I have been working with clay since I was a child; the fire that initially burned tentatively is still blazing today.
My training followed early pottery courses, as well as exhilarating – almost paradisiacal – stays during the summer holidays at the Kunstkollegium Schaddelmühle near Grimma, with Horst Skorupa and Astrid Dannegger.
I started working at the potter’s wheel, learning the craft from scratch. From 1984 – 1992 I completed my training with Ulli Wittich-Großkurth in Jena, and graduated with a master’s degree.
This is where the sound teaching of the craft, the basics, as well as learning patience and perseverance for repetitive tasks took place. Although there were many artistic impulses in this workshop and a certain curiosity was awakened in me, production was clearly the focus.
Therefore it was important to me to continue to develop artistically through numerous seminars at home and abroad. A study visit to the Royal Academy of Art in Stockholm was followed by trips to Mali, India, Vietnam and Thailand, were I was able to get to know traditional conditions and working methods without any technical aids.
At the beginning of next year I am going to fulfil a big dream. A study trip will take me to Japan to visit ceramists and their workshops in the Kansai region.

(Monika Gass)

Franziska Köllner

Akio Takamori

Akio Takamori was born in 1950 in Nobeoka, Miyazaki, Japan. During his apprenticeship in a traditional Japanese pottery, he met the American ceramist Ken Ferguson, who invited him to study with him. Takamori then moved to the USA in 1974.
It was Ferguson who encouraged the shy student at Kansas City Art Institute to work figuratively. Initially, Takamori used the vessel as a basis. He later expanded his range of media to include drawings and prints. Takamori continued his studies at Alfred University (NY), where he received his MFA degree in 1978. This was followed by various artist residencies at the Archie Bray Foundation in Montana, the European Ceramic Work Center in the Netherlands and the Kecskemét International Ceramic Studios in Hungary. From 1993 to 2014 he taught at the University of Washington.
It was migration to another continent that sparked interest in his own culture. Shikō Munakata’s graphics and Kitagawa Utamaro’s erotic images helped Takamori find his own artistic language. Only from a distance did he become aware of his roots and developed a fine sense for the peculiarities that he now had to reconcile in his new life.

AKIO TAKAMORI at the Keramikmuseum Westerwald (DE) in cooperation with Galerie Kunstforum Solothurn (CH) Exhibition until 7 April 2024

(Nele Van Wieringen)

left: Sisters, 2015 / right: Girl in Blue, photo – Helge Articus

Charlotte Hodes

Ariana Museum is showing “Conversations en plein air” until 5 May 2024

Charlotte Hodes presents internationally exhibited works that combine the practice of fine art with applied art. Charlotte Hodes (Great Britain,1959), who trained as a painter, has been using ceramic tableware as supports since the 1990s. She transfers the methods of collage and printing to the field of ceramics, based on her research in archives at the Spode factory in Stoke-on-Trent. With Conversations en plein air, Charlotte Hodes offers a playful analogy between the French visual tradition of the “Fêtes galantes” of the 18th century.
“Hodes has a sympathetic attitude towards the vicissitudes of being female but her work is not polemical, it is quietly subversive. What strikes one most – and what gives the work its playful power – is that what she grants her women through her art is freedom.” – Kate Kellaway, journalist, The Observer
A leading figure in contemporary art, Charlotte Hodes’ work profiles her long-standing engagement with the cross-overs between the fine and decorative arts. She draws on craft processes to create imagery firmly situated within the language of fine art.

Plate and ceramic fragments, part of the installation, hand-cut enamel transfer
china tableware, 2022-2023, Photo – Joel Chester Fildes

BCB Stoke – on-Trent 2023

The British Ceramics Biennial, which takes place every two years in Stoke-on-Trent, England, celebrated its 8th edition from 23 September to 5 November 2023.
The BCB was launched in 2009 to rejuvenate the traditional British ceramics industry, which had suffered from the closure of several famous British ceramics manufacturers. The Biennial has now evolved into the largest single event for contemporary ceramics in the UK. Every two years, the works of leading British ceramists are presented along side works by international artists in exhibitions and special events all over town.
The last time I attended the Ceramics Biennial was in 2019 before the Covid pandemic. The main exhibition venue at that time was the Spode Factory, a beautiful, light-flooded industrial space ideally suited to the exhibition. As the Spode Factory was closed for refurbishments in 2023, a new main exhibition venue was found, the All Saints Church in Hanley, an Arts and Crafts church built by Gerald Horsley in 1910. He was one of the five founder members of the Art Workers Guild, an association for artists and craftspeople founded in 1884 by a group of British architects, associated with the ideas of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement and which still exists today and is very active. Further exhibition spaces were the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery and the Airspace Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent as well as the Brampton Museum in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

(Regina Heinz)

FreshExhibition, Tim Fluck, The Elusive Promise of Utopia

Artist Journal

Aico TSUMORI  – Japan
Aico Tsumori (b. 1979) aside from her figures embodying deities, girls and pets are also her subjects. For example, there are quietly sitting, hand-kneaded figures of girls decorated with flowers and leaves, or animals keeping company with people under the stars and falling leaves. This brings a sense of peace and joy to viewers.

Chih-Chi HSU  – Taiwan
The works of Chih-Chi Hsu (born 1982) developed from a series of white abstract compositions. Not only their curves and dimensions are results of aesthetic considerations, but the techniques of polishing and colouring are epitomes of the artist’s mind. Her subtle feelings towards life are integrated and transformed into her works. Every twist and corner, every extending line and curving surface, is a profound and loyal reflection and expression of the key points of the artist’s life, which are transformed into curves and shapes.

(Ting-Ju SHAO)

Aico Tsumori

Chih-Chi HSU

In studio with Tineke van Gils

Tineke, before we jump into the main topic of making teapots, please tell us something about your training and career as a ceramist.
For a change, let me start when I was young. Due to family circumstances, I had to leave my parents’ house at the age of fifteen. From that time, I worked in Rotterdam for a living, studied in the evenings, and in the left-over time I organized craft clubs, a newspaper and some exhibitions. Around my twenties, when I taught teachers about literature, poetry and linguistics, I followed my dream and studied Dutch at the university of Amsterdam. Then followed a marriage, a child and a divorce. Once again, now with a child, I had to earn a total living. At that time, I discovered the potter’s wheel, or maybe it was the wheel that discovered me. From that moment on, my greatest talent got its chance, my hands were ready for this and I started a studio in Amsterdam. Within three years I became successful in large-scale production and because I charged good prices, I could free up time for experiments.

(Evelyne Schoenmann)

Tineke van Gils