June 2019: Focus on ELLEN SCHÖN

“I am spending the month of June at Guldagergård International Ceramic Research Center in Skaelskor, Denmark. Guldagergård is a ceramic artists’ residency program with a world-class facility, located on the beautiful grounds of a public park near a harbor and beach. I am honored to be one of twelve residents here. We share dorm rooms and take turns cooking dinner for each other, which makes for a friendly group.


 Artists have their own workspace in a 24-hour access studio building. The facility includes gas kilns, electric kilns, and wood-fired kilns, as well as all kinds of clay and glazes, a plaster mold-making lab, and a slip-casting room. We also have access to a research library, photo equipment, a 3D clay printer, a silkscreen print workshop, as well as Guldagergård’s own extensive ceramics collection. It is an inspiring place!


I arrived here with no specific plan for developing a new body of work--only a feeling of some pressure to create, since I have a show at BSG coming up in March 2020. I have chosen to work with fairly groggy clay—they call it chamotte here—which is also plastic, responding to strong manipulation without cracking. Also, I have signed up to participate in a soda/wood-fire kiln firing in a few weeks, a method I have rarely used.


 In the past I have made abstract, non-functional vessel forms. My work, I have been told, “explores the limits of abstraction.” However, since I began working this past week, the vessels seem to be transforming into objects, more clearly evoking birds, fish, or flowers. I have some trepidation about this trend, as I do not want the pieces to be cute. On the other hand, I don’t want to censor myself, so I am letting the work evolve as it will. Still, I anticipate abstract evocation, rather than literal creatures. Or maybe it’s okay to be cute. We’ll see.”

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 Ellen Schön

6 June 2019