During the month that my installation was up at Rønne Library, I made myself busy! The first weekend that the European Ceramic Context biennial opened was a buzz, with so many openings all over the island and artists, art lovers, curators and collectors from all over the world. I also visited the studios of two of the ceramists who were in my Fantastic Tales show. Charlotte Thorup, who has a enviably beautiful house and studio set-up, complete with rose-filled vegetable garden and sea views in Svaneke, a postcard-perfect village, and Heidi Hentze, who has a lovely home and studio full of ceramics and antiques in Nexø.

Once I left Bornholm, I spent nearly a week at Guldagergård, where I did the wood firing. I had to deliver boxes of artwork to 10 artists who were in my show at The Ceramic House. First stop was Christin Johansson, who lives in Holbæk Hojskole, where she teaches ceramics and lives in a wonderful cottage on the grounds of a huge 18th century complex. Hojskolen are a particularly Danish concept, kind of like residential adult education, where anyone can go for several weeks to several months to learn something new – quite excellent I think. Christin is currently in receipt of 3-year development grant from the Danish Arts Council, so she has the luxury of spending this whole year simply developing her own work.

After that I spent a week in Copenhagen, where I delivered boxes of work to Lone Skov Madsen and Turi Heisselberg Pedersen in their Frederiksberg studio and had a reunion at Viktoria studio with Helle Hansen and Pia Lund Hansen and Anne Nielsen, whom I stayed with just north of Copenhagen. I visited Priscilla Mouritzen, wood firing queen, in her open studio, and Sten Lykke Madsen’s fantasy-creature-filled house to deliver work back to.

I visited Louisiana (Museum of Modern Art and in my opinion one of the best museums I have ever visited), where there was an incredible installation by Olafur Eliasson where he has turned half the rooms of the museum into a riverbed. Louisiana is a special, beautiful place. I also enjoyed Janet Cardiff’s sound walk around the gardens.

I stayed with Karen Harsbo, who was also in Fantastic Tales, who lives very near Louisiana in a kind of collective, and what a fabulous place – a huge mansion split into about 6 flats – with a studio in the grounds. Karen is professor of ceramics at the Royal Academy and she also gave me a tour of the Academy. There was an intriguing exhibition on about Rose English that I loved.

I went to an exhibition opening at Copenhagen Ceramics, a lovely artist-run space in Frederiksberg, which I was very grateful to be able to attend, especially as it is sadly coming to the end of its 3-year plan. I also popped in to visit Ann Linnemann. Ann has a fabulous set up with studio, gallery and shop in one of the most fashionable streets in Copenhagen and has regular monthly exhibitions. The show I saw featured beautiful work by Jane Reumert and Jonathan Keep among others. And so the journey continued…



I’ve been back in Brighton for exactly a week now and trying to recover from the effects of such an exhausting trip! But what a journey it was!

I drove 3,500 miles around 4 countries, caught numerous ferries and crossed several monumental bridges, stayed in 13 different places, delivered boxes of ceramics back to 10 artists and squeezed in a lot of art – making and exhibiting my own, and looking at a lot of other peoples’ work too.

I’m pleased to say that my work was successful. The exhibition at Rønne Library looked fantastic, and the 6 days I spent at Guldagergård Ceramic Research Centre doing a soda wood firing paid off. The results are beautiful. I must admit the experience was not without pain – mainly the effects of no sleep for over 40 hours – but it is such a different and rewarding experience to switching on an electric kiln. It is also expensive to do a wood firing, about 4 times the price of doing an electric firing, which of course needs to be reflected in the price of the work. But the results are inimitable. I wouldn’t say I’m a complete convert, but I definitely would like to incorporate this new technique into my practice when the occasion calls for it. In this case, with the new work that I have produced, the botanical shapes really do benefit from the varying effects of the soda and the wood ash that uniquely glaze each piece inside the furnace.

So now I have a huge quantity of gorgeous new soda wood fired Botanical Structures in my possession and am hoping to find some opportunities to show this work next year. For a public artist who has been working to commission full time for 19 years, it’s quite a momentous leap to have made a significant new body of work that I now have available to exhibit. I haven’t done many exhibitions in all my years as an artist, as I have never had anything to show, as usually everything I make is permanently installed into site. One thing I have learnt from doing the exhibition in Bornholm is that my work is not exactly easy to exhibit. It’s large-scale, which means it’s difficult to transport and install and de-install. It was quite a job taking it all off the wall in Rønne Library. The adhesives worked brilliantly keeping the pieces on the wall, but meant that it was very difficult to get it all off the back of the ceramic pieces. I think perhaps pre-mounting on to panels would definitely be easier next time. So I have food for thought about making these processes easier whilst not compromising the scale….