Charlotte Nielsen Keramik: Ceramics that will leave you in awe
By Heidi Kokborg | Photos: Charlotte Nielsen Keramik
Charlotte Nielsen creates ceramics that will leave you astonished. These are not your usual ceramics: inspired by machines and technology, her pieces express the unique contrast between the organic and the mechanical, and mix feminine and masculine elements. Her work is slightly rough and a little bit disconcerting; just enough to leave you in awe.
Charlotte Nielsen knew she wanted to be a ceramicist since she was 16 years old. Though the road has been full of twists, turns and loops, she has developed her own creative language over the last 20 years; a ceramic language that has resulted in unique pieces with a distinctive touch. The inspiration behind her art? Not what you might expect!
“I have a deep fascination with machines and technology and they have been a major source of inspiration for my art. I am especially fascinated by porosity and rust. It is not so much the machine technology I have a fascination with, but more the decay of it,” says Nielsen.
Charlotte Nielsen’s ceramics recall some of the aesthetic qualities of machines, with a darker colour and rougher texture than conventional Danish ceramics. They present the stark contrast between organic sensuality and machine-inspired forms, bridging these disparate visual realms with a striking minimalism that’s both astonishing and slightly disconcerting.
Inspired by Japanese minimalism
One of the most unique characteristics of Charlotte Nielsen’s ceramics is the rough texture and the reddish and bluish hues. This is one of the hallmarks of raku-fired ceramics. The raku technique involves taking glazed ceramics from the kiln while they are still glowing red-hot. The ceramics are then placed in a flammable material, such as sawdust or newspaper, to starve the piece of oxygen, which creates a myriad of beautiful colours within the glaze.
“It is almost primitive, like something you would see in ancient times. The technique imprints unique traces from the flames and the sod. I glaze my ceramics with copper, which creates these beautiful reddish and bluish tones, not unlike metal and rust,” explains Nielsen.
Depending on the size of the piece, it can be left in the sawdust for up to 24 hours. The bigger the piece, the longer it needs in the sawdust. By using the raku technique, Nielsen creates one-of-a-kind, handcrafted pieces, with each bearing unique variations from the flames and sod.
Where femininity meets masculinity
Nielsen’s ceramics are decorative objects that add character and personality to the home. They are like sculptures: you won’t find cups, vases or plates in her collections. “It is not a mass production. Every single piece is made by hand, and each piece has its own variations. My pieces are not meant to be used, they are meant to be enjoyed by the eye. I work with sculptures,” says Nielsen.
What is also very special about Nielsen’s work is the balance between the aesthtics of fragility and robustness. She displays an arresting creative fluency, inside the medium of ceramics, with ideas relating to machines, technology, rust and darker colours. One thing is for sure: you will get a piece of art that you will love having on display in your home.
Web: www.cn-keramik.dk Instagram: @charlottenielsenkeramik Permanent exhibitions: Galleri Lorien - Frederiksberg, Copenhagen Væg Gallery - Aalborg. Home showroom: Reerslev in Ruds-Vedby, open by appointment only. You can find several of Charlotte Nielsen’s pieces at CLAY Shop, Museum of Ceramic Art Denmark. Upcoming events: 27 – 29 May: Kunst i Pinsen, Open House at Charlotte Nielsen’s home showroom in Reerslev, Ruds-Vedby, from 11-17 6-8 June: Villvin Kunsthåndverkmarked, Norway (art market) 10-12 August: Frue Plads Marked, Denmark
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