Katharina Klug is a Cambridge-based ceramicist who creates elegant contemporary porcelain pieces. Her work is about simplicity of design and form. This is beautifully complemented with distinctive pops of colour, as in this stunning tea set she recently made. Katharina mixes all the glazes herself using her own recipes which she has developed and refined over many years. She is inspired by the elemental colour and shape of ancient Korean pottery.
Last week we were fortunate enough to attend a workshop with Katharina and get some hands-on experience ourselves. We are extremely grateful that she invited us to her lovely studio; it was a very interesting, informative experience and we had a lot of fun too! Here is an image of some of our staff members at the start of the workshop, before we got our hands dirty.
The workshop focused on two different clay building techniques: slab building and wheel throwing. Most of us were new to wheel throwing, so it was a bit daunting at first, but luckily we had an experienced and very patient master-ceramicist guiding us through the basics. Wheel throwing was a lot more difficult than we had expected and we will need another few workshops before we are able to throw an acceptable pot, but we very much enjoyed it! Starting out with a lump of clay and being able to shape it any way you want is very liberating. Even if our pots didn't always turn out the way we had hoped, we loved the process of creating them. As the morning passed our respect and admiration for the ceramicists whose work we have in stock at our galleries grew even more than before, so much skill, time and effort goes into the making of even the simplest of bowls.
While we focused on round smooth shapes with the pottery wheel, we used the slab building technique to try our hand at straight shapes with textured surfaces. We started by rolling out the clay into an even layer and we had a wide range of tools and objects at our disposal to create relief on our slabs; from stamps and rollers to everyday objects like lace. The possibilities were endless and Katharina inspired us constantly with new ideas. We then constructed vessels by joining the different slabs together with a slip made of clay, water and vinegar.
Creating pottery is a very physical activity, so we had a well deserved mid-morning break in Katharina's lovely garden, with excellent coffee and tea, fresh fruits and delicious cakes. During this time, Katharina talked to us about different kinds of materials and their properties, including earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. She enthusiastically answered all of our questions and convinced us that anyone can become a great potter, given enough practice and dedication.
Throughout the workshop, it became apparent how driven and committed Katharina is herself. She works very hard to get the results she wants, spends a lot of time reading up on the latest developments in ceramics and forever continues to improve her technique. Katharina is so passionate and knowledgeable about her craft that it didn't come as a surprise to us that she was recently selected as a member of the prestigious Crafts Potters Association, official recognition that she is really at the top of her field. We want to thank Katharina for spending so much time with us and we look forward to passing on some of the knowledge and enthusiasm to our customers!