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Q + A | LENE KUHL JAKOBSEN

The story of your practice.

How did you get into your practice?

I grew up in Denmark and following High School I got accepted to do a 4 year full time course in Ceramics at Kolding Art and Craft School from 1974 to 78.


How and when did the practice come into being, and how has it evolved over time (if at all)?

After the Ceramics course I worked at a pottery in Copenhagen for 4 years learning all the skills required in a production pottery where every piece and all processes were done by hand. Alongside the paid work I was able to make my own work which I sold through a co-op shop which stocked many different art and craft items. I also took part in a couple of exhibitions.

I moved to Northern Norway for a year to work and in 1985 I settled in Melbourne.
Here I shared workshop space for my own production as well as working for other
ceramists. Since 1991 I have had my own home studio with an electric kiln.


Is your practice informed by any specific set of values or principles?


I regard making clay works by hand worthwhile and I enjoy learning and employing the many required skills to my creations. I think it is important that the ‘hand made’ is still done in a world which is becoming ever more screen based and where production can be done by machines. Pottery making has a history which goes back to ancient times and has been practised in
most cultures. I feel this link strongly and like to be a small part of a continued story. This was a consideration when I choose to work in the field as I have always been interested in archaeology and did some study in Denmark.

How does your studio or workspace function in the day-to-day?

I have had a studio at home since 1991 and have been able to combine working and being a mother to two girls when they were young and going to school. They are now grown up.


Style and influences.

How would you define your work?

I make functional pieces which are made individually on the pottery wheel and fired to 1280 in an electric kiln. I aim to make pieces with quality and style which will not date but can give pleasure to the user for a long time. I make all designs and glazes myself.

My exhibition work may be hand built sculptural shapes or wheel thrown pieces
depending on the particular idea which suit the occasion.


Do you see your work as belonging to any particular style or tradition?

I am told that my work show that I have a Scandinavian background and I regard that as unavoidable but also a regard is as a compliment. You cannot remove the influences you acquire while growing up and studying.


What matters most to you in considering and developing a project?

I aim to make sure that I do my best choose the right clay, surface treatment, glazes and firing to suit the project.


Who/what are your greatest influences? (Anyone or anything that feeds your work, directly or indirectly.)

Nature and the environment is a great inspiration for me and over time I have used various themes such as the sea and shells in the work. Recently I have made installation work which refer to climate change and the consequences it may cause.

In over 40 years of making I have been inspired and influenced by numerous ceramic artists from all over the world and by ancient European pottery.

To name a few ceramic artists whose work I admire:
Gudrun Meedom Baech, Beate Andersen, Gunhild Aaberg, Jane Reumert, Lucie Rie, Karen Karnes, Eva Zeisel, Thorvald Bindesboll, Erik Nyholm, Bjarne Christensen, Carl- Harry Staalhane, Gunnar Nylund.


Sustainability.

Talk me through the ways that sustainability features in your work.

I recycle clay trimmings and pieces that are second rate (before firing).
I try to not waste materials, I have a sink trap for the clay sludge, I make sure to fire only a fully packed kiln, I have solar panels for electricity. I support a tree planting program www.withoneseed.org.au for my CO 2 emissions.