I have arrived at Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Centre in Skaelskor, Denmark. It’s great to be back. Last time I was here it was the height of summer (last summer) and what a long hot summer it was! I cycled off to the beach every day for a dip in between experimenting with glazes, oh what a languorous time that sounds like. Well I did actually work really hard; the work ethic is enthusiastic here to say the least.

I spent all day Sunday until midnight writing an article for TACS magazine, Glazed Expressions, for their Contemporary Tilemaker slot. As well as all the admin and organising to go with this project, I still have my own work to keep up.

I have been playing around with the design for the wall piece I am making. Last summer when I was here, I came up with the idea for this piece, and did a lot of drawings and designed the individual elements – the wall piece is composed of multiple repeated relief forms on a botanical theme, inspired by the local Danish (summer) landscape. I made 6 out of 20(ish) of the designs into moulds and used them to experiment on. I tested lots of different clay bodies and did loads of glaze samples. I brought the original moulds back with me, and I plan to make as many new moulds as I have time for. I also plan to experiment with making closed slip cast moulds, which I think would be more suitable for these pieces so that can be hung on a wall easily.

I have been making some casts of the original moulds just to try out the various porcelain slips available here. In fact, the first thing I did when I arrived was get well and truly stuck into a giant bucket of slip that I made from the raw materials (a first for someone who is used to ordering bags of clay ready to use). As usual, I thought what would be a quick job turned out to take all afternoon. So today I’ve been testing that and I tried some ready mixed Royal Copenhagen slip, which a lovely material to use. Royal Copenhagen is the Wedgwood of Denmark and has recently followed a similar path. The main factory closed, they moved and are still here, but more as a figurehead. The vast majority of their ware is now made in China. I met someone at a party in Copenhagen last summer who works for Royal Copenhagen and she filled me in on the history. Even better, she offered to provide me with the recipe for the very slip I am now using…could come in handy. Couldn’t imagine Wedgwood giving their recipes away!


As I am just embarking on a new project freshly funded by the Arts Council of England (so fresh I am still to receive the first paycheque!), I thought it would be fun (and might be mildly entertaining or a teeny bit interesting) to document the rise and fall and ongoing progress of it all.

The project is a Danish-British exchange around contemporary ceramics. I am about to start a residency at Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Centre in Denmark, where I am planning to make a large scale new piece of work leading on from a research and development residency at Guldagergaard last summer. This artwork will form a focal point and set the context for an exhibition of Danish Contemporary Ceramics at The Ceramic House in May this year and will later be exhibited at the Biennial: European Ceramic Context 2014 in Bornholm, Denmark, September-November 2014.

The Ceramic House is a personal project that has been evolving since its launch in 2011. I am transforming my home in Brighton into a work of art and making a showcase of my ceramic and glass creations. Essentially, I am treating the house and garden as I would any of my public realm commissions. Each May I curate exhibitions of ceramic art in this context, when it is open to the public as part of Artists Open Houses during the Brighton Festival. The 2013 show was widely acclaimed with 21 leading international ceramists and The Ceramic House was awarded Best Artists Open House 2013.

There are 15 leading internationally recognised Danish ceramists lined up for the upcoming show Fantastic Tales: Danish Contemporary Ceramics, which will be open to the public every weekend in May. I had a great time visiting many of them in their studios on a research trip last September and I am thrilled to say that this is a treat in store! For exhibition details see www.theceramichouse.co.uk

The Embassy of Denmark is supporting the project and the University of Brighton is hosting artists talks to run alongside the show.

I am working with a team towards the success of this project including mentors, a curator, a designer, a photographer and a filmmaker, to mention but a few. Prior to the residency, I had sessions with three mentors covering business skills, marketing and developing a curatorial framework, all of which were hugely informative. I also had meetings with the design team who will be contributing to the catalogue, a step up for my exhibitions at The Ceramic House.

I have also been feeding information about the show to various press and PR people, with several articles/features in the pipeline.

So I’ve got my work cut out for me! Keep up with my progress by logging on here or on to www.theceramichouse.co.uk

Exhibition Details

Fantastic Tales: Danish Contemporary Ceramics

Artist curator: J Kay Aplin

Venue: The Ceramic House, 75 Stanmer Villas, Brighton BN1 7HN

Exhibition dates: Saturdays and Sundays in May 2014 (3/4, 10/11, 17/18, 24/25 May)

The cross-spectrum of artforms – sculpture, installation, performance, tableware and wall pieces – will create a significant exhibition of Danish Contemporary Ceramics.

Exhibiting artists

Karen Harsbo, Lone Skov Madsen, Turi Heisselberg Pedersen, Mette Maya Gregersen, Lone Borgen, Malene Hartmann Rasmussen, Sten Lykke Madsen, Heidi Hentze, Anne Nielsen, Charlotte Thorup, Louise Gaarmann, Jane Holmberg, Pia Lund Hansen, Helle Hansen and Christin Johansson is developing a site-specific performance installation.