Art and Culture on Samsø, Samsø - My Island

Sigrid´s Passion for Clay

“I’m proud of what I do. If I wasn’t, I should have stopped because there are things enough in this world already”. The words come quickly, but well-considered from potter Sigrid Hovmand who is busy opening the big kiln in her combined workshop and exhibition with boutique in a beautiful old building by the village pond in Nordby.

Hand-Thrown Intransigence
Although it has been more than 40 years since Sigrid finished her apprenticeship as a potter at the old Kähler Ceramics in Næstved, she is still working every day to improve her skills. “All my products are hand-thrown, and I acknowledge the tradition that I am part of. I work with intransigence and I have to work hard every day. Just when I feel like a world champion, the kiln takes me for a spin”, she explains with a big smile.

Several hours, drawings, thoughts, and doubts precede every single object before it finds its way from Sigrid’s potter´s wheel to the home of a happy customer. Apart from her apprentice certificate from Kähler, Sigrid has attended The University of Oregon in the USA and attended drawing and painting at The Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, and her stringent, technical approach to painting is clearly reflected in her finished works. “My process is extremely lengthy, but I allow myself to live in a place and in a way where lengthiness is okay. Necessary, in fact! It can be years from my first attempt to try out an idea to the point when I have a finished project. If people become happier with my products as time goes by, it tells me that it has been a success”, Sigrid explains.

The Will of the Kiln
For almost two months, Sigrid has been working on filling the kiln with bowls, jars, mugs, vases, and cocottes. After 16 hours of burning, it is now time to study the results and Sigrid is clearly excited. “Not a single stacking is the same. Not one burning is the same. The glaze, which is actually pulverized glass, responds in many different ways dependent on temperature, heat distribution, flames, and many other factors. That’s why there are still butterflies in my stomach when I am about to open the kiln”, Sigrid explains with great enthusiasm, while she is taking out the beautiful stoneware.

This time, the kiln has behaved as it should. Every single object is turned over and over, touched, and studied. Now and then Sigrid bursts into small cries of joy when a vase has got the proper deep blue tinge or a bowl has the desired ivory coloured glaze. “Good articles for everyday use should be seen with the hands. There is a reason why you always reach out for the same bowl at home. This is because it fi ts the hand well!”

The Creative Foundation
For the most part, Sigrid makes classic things of organic shape. Not because she lacks the courage to try something more extravagant, but simply because she seeks beauty and harmony. “My theory is that, basically, people like to look at organic things. It makes us feel comfortable,” and, at the same time, she emphasizes that something similar applies to the physical place where she finds herself.

“On Samsø, you really sense seasonal change and the dynamics that arise between the hustle and bustle of summer and the tranquillity of winter. On Samsø, we are close to beauty and the light can make me feel high. This makes Samsø a fantastic work place for absorption and peace. There’s no doubt that my creative basis was formed in my childhood with walks in the nature of Samsø.” As it is, Sigrid has grown up on Samsø. This is where her children were born and where she received her artistic vision. “On Samsø, we are close to the sea everywhere and here I feel like being a greater part of the world than in any other place – but I certainly won’t take a boat and row to New York”, she says with her cheerful smile.

Sigrid Hovmand
• In 1977, Sigrid finished her apprenticeship as a potter at Kähler Ceramics in Næstved
• Sigrid has held exhibitions in the USA, Japan, Poland, Switzerland, Holland, Germany, Italy, and Denmark
• She has been a visiting lecturer at Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA
• She has received The Arts and Crafts Award of 1879 – The Hetsch Medal
• Sigrid has sold works to Her Majesty Queen Margrethe, among others
• You will find Sigrid’s workshop at Ved Kæret 20 in Nordby. Open by appointment all year.
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Last updated: 12/08/2020 14:10