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Gutte Eriksen

In 1936-39 Gutte Eriksen (1918-2008) trained at Kunsthåndværkerskolen (Danish Design School) in Copenhagen. Here the traditions of pottery were taught based on Nationalmuseets (Danish National Museum’s) collections of ancient Danish ceramics. When, after her training, she settled down with her own workshop, it was the personal interpretation of articles for everyday use – pitchers, cups and vases – that became the foundation of her work.
 
A period of study with the British ceramicist Bernard Leach in 1948 opened up the ceramic culture of the East to her. Since followed travels to Japan. The Danish pottery tradition and the ceramic tradition of the East became the sources, from which Gutte Eriksen takes her inspiration. Since then she has produced some of our time’s most advanced and interesting ceramic works. She has been of great significance to present-day young ceramicists and is represented in museums and private collections all over the world.
 
Like an alchemist Gutte Eriksen works with the basic elements of ceramics. The rough clay that she mixes herself is thrown and worked up into simple, classic and clear shapes. The sophisticated and richly varied use of glazing is the only decoration of the ceramics. Colours and surface qualities are varied through regulation of kiln temperature and air volume during the firing process. The artistic effects are deliberately kept simple, but it is just the slight variations that produce a complex play of light and shade that make the objects convey new experiences – for instance when the glazing shimmers in the light like a precious stone.
 
As a result of her persistent intent upon and preoccupation with the basic questions of ceramics Gutte Eriksen has created ceramic ware, which, rooted in the long history of ceramics, has added new and decisive elements to the tradition. A ceramic style that is archetypal in its timeless beauty and clear simplicity.
 
In the public space Gutte Eriksen has among others created a ”Fountain” (1977), which stands in front of the main entrance of Holstebro Hospital.
Gutte Eriksen, foto Akhøj