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Anne Mette Hjortshøj

Price ÂŁ10



Essay by Phil Rogers


Anne Mette Hjortshøj In 1998 I agreed to take a student on a placement from the School of Glass and Ceramics on the Danish island of Bornholm. The tutor in charge of the school is an old friend of mine, the British potter John Gibson, and despite my reticence he persuaded me that the experience would be beneficial to both the student and to me. At that time I had been working as a potter for 20 years and had never had any kind of assistant. I was therefore a little apprehensive about taking someone to work with me and to share my house for three months without actually meeting anyone beforehand. I remember clearly, a cold and dark night, waiting on the platform at Caersws railway station and seeing a tall and attractive young woman get off the train carrying a rucksack heavier than herself. We shook hands and introduced ourselves quite formally before chatting non stop as I drove the 40 minutes back to Rhayader. By the time we arrived home I knew instinctively that I had made the right decision and felt both lucky and relieved that it was Anne Mette who had chosen to come to Wales for we seemed to get on well together right from the very beginning. As soon as Anne Mette was introduced to the workshop it was immediately apparent that here was someone with more than a fair share of common sense, an insatiable appetite to learn, to improve and, even at that stage, a talent that was out of proportion to her student status. I well remember suggesting that we both make something for the Orton Cone Box Show in the United States. The


Orton Cone Box Show is a competition and subsequent exhibition of pieces that will fit into an Orton Cone Box which is approximately 6 inches by 3 inches. I can’t remember what I made that year but I do remember Anne Mette making small vases that consisted of an inverted tapering neck sat on a rounded base. Each neck was set at an angle and when three of these vases were placed in a row the effect was reminiscent of the sloping funnels of the Titanic. We salt glazed the vases. Anne Mette was not only selected for the exhibition, selling both her entries, she also won a prestigious purchase award. Anne Mette eventually came to work with me for three separate periods all of which added up to a full year. During those times we made pots, glazed, and fired both the oil kiln and the salt kiln. She prepared clay, mixed glazes, packed kilns, made her own work and we even began building the three chamber wood kiln. She had and still has, an amazing work ethic the evidence of which is here in this exhibition. Anne Mette has built three large kilns in Denmark. The latest, a two chamber wood firing kiln built with the help of potter Fergus Stewart, was constructed in September 2011 at her new home and studio, a large and rambling early 19th century farmhouse and buildings situated on the west coast of Bornholm near to the town of Rønne. I have often used a phrase to describe the kind of pots that I like and attract my attention. That phrase is ‘pots that display a sense of adventure’. In other words, I enjoy to see a potter working at the edge




of things rather than playing safe. I see that sense of adventure in Anne Mette’s pots. She comes from a long line of potters from Denmark, often female, who make or have made strong, gutsy pots with little thought to compromise. One thinks of the influential Gutte Eriksen or Lis Ehrenreich, Inger Rokkjaer, Ulla Hansen and Aase Haugaard — all female potters and all making pots of real presence and quality with apparently little consideration to fashion or worrying about the evaluation of others. Anne Mette’s pieces, particularly the large, monumental bottles, have a ‘take me or leave me’ arrogance. The running glazes and poured slips, the finger marks, the sweeps of under glaze and the brutally minimal marks are not begging to be loved but the combination of all of these elements create an edifice that draws one in for a closer look. In a ceramic world currently populated by far too many timid makers of insipid porcelain, these pieces are like a great storm gathering on the horizon — you want to run but curiosity draws you closer and you enter a world of primeval geology. The slab bottles are, to me at least, her tour de force. Each piece is a canvas and the salt glaze vapours her paint. I have made salt glaze in the past and probably will again in the future. I know how difficult it is to salt glaze in a wood fired kiln and to achieve the range of colours and textures extracted from slip, salt and atmosphere. Anne Mette has harnessed the fire and by clever placement of the pots in the kiln and the judicious application of slip and glaze she creates surfaces of great variation and depth of colour. They are not prissy or fussy — they are finished but not over finished. The sensitive placement of childlike







drawings owe much to the ceramics of 15th and 16th century Korea — what we know as Bunchong. The Korean potters of that period made similarly childlike representations of grass, birds, plants et al through a white slip into a dark background clay body. Like her sometimes quirky sense of form, her placement of the drawing within the rectangular ‘canvas’ is often inspirational and achieves that indefinable sense of rightness we associate with artists of great note — Hockney for example where so much is conveyed with so little — where a line or a stabbed mark laid down with truth and experience can say more than a fussy and detailed drawing. So hard to do but the secret is to make it look easy and natural. I know from time I have spent in Korea with Anne Mette that her tea bowls meet with the most exacting scrutiny of the oriental aficionado. The thick and uncompromising Hakeme together with the warmth and subtlety of the salt glazed surface create a visual and tactile experience enough to warm the heart of any Japanese or Korean tea master. Her bowls are well respected in Korea and she has been invited and reinvited five years running to the Tea Bowl Festival in Mungyeong, South Korea. It is refreshing indeed to witness a potter who is not afraid to include within her oeuvre work that is overtly domestic. The idea that pots for cooking in or serving from can be as worthwhile as pieces obviously made with a more contemplative role seems, in recent years, to have been diminished. Anne Mette revels in the complexities of bringing





together the requirements of utility while retaining boldly the expression of fluid clay and glaze that we see in her less utilitarian works. Her squared off serving dishes have handles that appear still to be soft and the cavalier use of stamps into wet clay retain that plastic quality of soft clay long after the piece is fired and passed into permanence. There is most definitely a sculptural quality to these pieces, particularly the plain versions where the statement is pure form and the whiteness of the porcelain, reminiscent of marble, takes no prisoners. Anne Mette has never been afraid to pack her bags and travel the world in an attempt to better understand the sources of her inspiration. It is a fact that too many potters take their ideas and influence second hand. By that I mean they reference books and museums or even other contemporary potters. To really understand inspirational ceramics from different cultures one has to be there, to talk to and listen to potters far more knowledgeable, to see first hand the pots that meant so much, to totally immerse ones self in a tradition. I learnt so much from my times in Korea and Japan — lessons in Hakeme from one of Korea’s foremost potters changed the way I make pots. Anne Mette has travelled extensively — Korea, Japan, the UK, the United States, Australia — and the cumulative experiences of her adventures can be seen so clearly in her work. Her talent has been to assimilate all of those experiences, including her time with me in Wales, and create work that speaks of an individual with an idiosyncratic, original, sometimes unpredictable yet special view of her own ceramic world.



I take great pride in seeing Anne Mette Hjortshøj’s first one person show in the UK here at the Goldmark Gallery. I am taking little credit for her success as a potter. I had a modest input early on in her career but, because of the time she spent with me, I have taken a rather paternalistic interest in her development. To see this large and consistent body of work fills me with a kind of smug satisfaction because I knew back in 1999 that she was a talented, committed and driven individual who would attract attention largely for her pots and partly for her engaging and modest personality. People warm to Anne Mette very quickly. Her modesty, verging on self deprecation, is an endearing facet to her personality but the power and maturity of her pots shine out and reveal an inner strength and determination that has sustained her through some tricky personal times while, at the same time will ensure a long and creative career. Phil Rogers, potter and writer
































Biographical Notes 1973

Born Århus, Denmark


Risskov Amtsgymnasium, language and art as main subjects


Architect School, Århus, private drawing school


Thorstedlund Art ‘Folk High School’, Frederikssund, Denmark


Glass- and Ceramic School on Bornholm, Denmark


Reconstruction of a Medieval woodfire kiln at Bornholm Medieval Center

1998 & 2000

Assistant, Phil Rogers, Wales


Assistant, John Thies, Maryland, USA


Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal. Builds cross-draught woodfired kiln at a kilnbuilding workshop with Claus Domine Hansen. Trave lgrant, Danish Art Foundation, South Korea and Australia Guest student, Southern Cross University, Lismore, Canberra School of Art, Australia. Clayfeast, Gulgong, NSW, Australia


Shared studio, Cassius Clay, workshop and gallery, Bornholm, Denmark


Studio exchange project, Asuur Keraamika, Tallin, Estonia ICF, Wales, Lecture on Contemporary Danish Ceramics Building catenary arch, oilfired saltkiln, Balka, Bornholm Series of annual ceramic courses on throwing and firing with Cassius Clay


Building cross-draught woodfired kiln, Snogebæk, Bornholm with help from Fergus Stewart, Scotland. Runs workshop, Glass and Ceramic School, Bornholm, throwing, woodfiring and saltglazing.


Part time assignment, Bornholm Arts and Craft ‘Folk High School’, head of ceramics

2007 2009

Nordic Woodfire Marathon, Horne, Denmark Runs workshop, porcelain and ashglazes, Holbæk Kunsthøjskole, Holbæk, Denmark.


Moves to ‘Agregård’ farm, Nyker, Bornholm and converts part of the farm into Studio.


Member of shared ceramic shop, Lertøj, Århus, Denmark



Builds two chambered woodfire kiln, Nyker, Bornholm, with help from Fergus Stewart. Opens Gallery Cassius Clay, Gudhjem, Bornholm

Selected Exhibitions 2012

Mungyeong International Chasabal Festival, Mungyeong, South Korea


Japan/Bornholm, Gallery Vang, Bornholm Baltic Woodfired, Bornholm, Det Ny Kasted, Thisted, Denmark Mungyeong International Chasabal Festival, Mungyeong, South Korea ‘Next Generation’ Palæfløjen, Danish Ceramic Museum, Roskilde, Denmark


Japan/Bornholm, Gallery Vang, Bornholm ‘Wall of Fame’ First Decade, Selected Graduates, Glass and Ceramic School, Bornholm, Denmark. Baltic Woodfired, Bornholm, Denmark Gangjin Celadon Festival, International Ceramic Artist Exhibition, South Korea Mungyeong International Chasabal Festival, Mungyeong, South Korea


‘Craft of Today’, Eckero, Åland, Sweden Gallery Zeeno Space, Seoul, South Korea Baltic Woodfired, Hjorths Fabrik, Bornholm Mungyeong International Chasabal Festival, South Korea KIC, Kunsthåndværk I Centrum, Århus, Denmark


‘Multymini’, Det Ny Kasted, Thisted, Denmark Nordic Woodfire Marathon, NCECA, Pittsburg, USA Mungyeong International Chasabal Festival, South Korea ‘Out of the Fire’, Galleri Rasch, Bornholm Baltic Woodfired, Galleri 2ern, Bornholm Galleri Bødger, Køge, Denmark


Woodfired Ceramics, Børglum Kloster, Denmark Rosenthal Studio-Haus, 30 year anniversary, Hamburg, Germany 100 years of Studio Pottery from Bornholm, Thisted Denmark


Table Manners, Crafts Council Gallery, London, UK


Harlequin Gallery, Wood Fired Pottery, London, UK



Gallery Earth and Fire, Virginia USA, ‘Five plus Five’ Time For Tea, The Museum of Trade and Shipping, Denmark 2004

Rosenthal Studio-Haus, Germany Kunstforum, Norkoping, Sweden Mellem Himmel og hav, Rundetårn, Copenhagen Cassius Clay, Hjorths Fabrik, Rønne, Bornholm Ceramic Museum, Denmark ‘Unison’, The Museum of International Ceramic Arts, Denmark Orton Conebox Show, Baker University, Kansas/NCECA, USA. Prize Winner


‘Pots in The Kitchen’ Rufford, England


New Graduates exhibition, Bornholm Art Museum, the Museum of

‘Unison’ The Applied Art Museum, Tallin, Estonia. International Ceramics, Denmark 1999

Selected Autumn Show, Galleri Kaffeslottet, Gudhjem, Bornholm

Collections Mungyeong Ceramic Museum, South Korea Gangjin Celadon Museum, South Korea Bornholm Ceramic Museum, Denmark

Publications Josie Walter, ‘Pots in the Kitchen’, published 2002 Phil Rogers, ‘Saltglaze’, A&C Black, published 2002. Ian Gregory, ‘Alternative Kilns’, A&C Black 2006 Alistair Hawtin, ‘Guide to Collecting Studio Pottery’ Lars Serena, ‘Bornholmsk værkstedskeramik’ Lars Abrahamsen, ‘Bornholmsk værkstedskeramik gennem 100 år’, Kunstforeningen Det Ny Kastet, 2007



Illustrated Pots

All sizes in cm

21. Square Bottle. Dark clay with nuka type glaze. Salt fired 60. Two Plates. Dark clay, crackle slip & nuka type glaze. Salt fired

26.0 x 18.5 3.5 x 23.0

61. Two Plates. Dark clay, white slip, shino type glaze & shell marks. Salt fired

4.0 x 23.5

62. Two Plates. Dark clay, crackle slip & ash glaze. Salt fired

3.0 x 23.0

63. Two Plates. Iron & cobalt slip. Salt fired

4.5 x 23.5

75. Oval Dish. Iron & cobalt slip. Salt fired 96. Large Oval Dish with Handles. Iron & cobalt slip. Salt fired 97. Large Oval Dish with Handles. Iron & cobalt slip. Salt fired 106. Bottle with Small Handle. Red slip, fired on its side

8.0 x 26.0 15.0 x 31.0 14.5 x 27.5 22.5 x 17.0

107. Bottle. Dark clay, local kaolin slip & ash glaze. Salt fired

28.0 x 18.0

113. Square Bottle. Crackle slip & nuka type glaze. Salt fired

26.0 x 18.5

119. Square Bottle. Red slip, salt fired

26.0 x 18.5

127. Square Bottle. Dark clay, crackle slip, nuka type glaze & cobalt pigment. Salt fired

26.0 x 18.5

130. Square Bottle. Dark clay, crackle slip & ash glaze. Salt fired

26.0 x 15.5

134. Jug. Dark clay, porcelain slip & tenmoku glaze. Salt fired

26.5 x 19.0

136. Jug. Cobalt & iron pigment. Salt fired

25.5 x 18.5

137. Jug. Cobalt & iron pigment. Salt fired

23.0 x 18.5

140. Jug. Dark clay, crackle slip & ash glaze. Salt fired

22.5 x 19.5

145. Lidded Jar with Flower Lid. Dark clay, crackle slip & nuka type glaze

15.0 x 12.0

148. Lidded Jar with Flower Lid. Dark clay, local kaolin slip & tenmoku glaze

16.5 x 13.0

162. Lidded Cylinder Jar. Cobalt & iron slip. Salt fired

9.5 x 10.0

171. Lidded Cylinder Jar. Cobalt & iron slip. Salt fired

13.0 x 13.5

172. Lidded Cylinder Jar. Cobalt & iron slip. Salt fired

14.0 x 13.5

181. Teapot with One Cup. Willow Handle. Porcelain slip & ash glaze. Salt fired

26.0 x 12.0

188. Teapot with Two Cups. Willow handle. Cobalt & iron pigment. Salt fired

26.0 x 13.0

190. Hollow Dish. Dark clay, local kaolin slip & ash glaze. Salt fired


8.0 x 59.5


All sizes in cm

191. Hollow Dish. Cobalt & iron slip

12.0 x 37.0

192. Large Jar. Dark clay, white slip & ash glaze. Salt fired

43.5 x 31.0

193. Large Jar. Dark clay, crackle slip & nuka type glaze. Salt fired

46.5 x 39.0

194. Large Jar. Dark clay, white slip & tenmoku glaze. Salt fired

34.5 x 28.5

195. Large Jar. Dark clay, white slip & ash glaze. Salt fired

41.0 x 31.0

198. Large Jar. Dark clay, crackle slip & nuka type glaze. Salt fired

43.5 x 34.5

199. Large Jar. Dark clay, crackle slip & nuka type glaze. Salt fired

45.0 x 36.0

202. Teapot with Two Cups. Porcelain. Willow handle. Nuka type glaze, salt fired

25.5 x 11.5

207. Large Oval Dish with Handles. Porcelain. Shino & ash glaze with cobalt pigment. Salt fired

12.5 x 28.0

211. Medium Oval Dish with Handles. Porcelain. Ash glaze, salt fired 11.0 x 21.0 237. Teacup. Iron & cobalt pigment. Salt fired

8.0 x 11.0

238. Teabowl. Iron & cobalt slip. Salt fired

8.0 x 15.0



Goldmark Gallery, Uppingham, Rutland, LE15 9SQ 01572 821424 Text: © Phil Rogers 2012 Photographs: © Jay Goldmark Design: Porter / Goldmark ISBN 978-1-870507-96-7 66


Phil Rogers New Pots 2005 Clive Bowen New Pots 2006 Lisa Hammond New Pots 2006 Mike Dodd Recent Pots 2007 Ken Matsuzaki (2007) Thirty Years of a Living Tradition Svend Bayer (2007) New Pots Jim Malone (2008) The Pursuit of Beauty Phil Rogers (2008) A Potter of our Time Lisa Hammond (2009) Unconscious Revelation

10 Ken Matsuzaki New Pots 2009 11 Mike Dodd New Pots 2009 12 Clive Bowen New Pots 2009 13 Svend Bayer New Pots 2010 14 Nic Collins New Pots 2011 15 Ken Matsuzaki New Pots 2011 16 Jim Malone New Pots 2011 17 Mike Dodd (2011) The Perceptive Spirit 18 Anne Mette Hjortshøj New Pots 2012


Phil Rogers - A Passion For Pots Ken Matsuzaki - Elemental Svend Bayer Nic Collins Jim Malone Mike Dodd Anne Mette Hjortshøj

front cover Pot number 202

For further details or to order: visit or phone 01572 821424


Anne Mette Hjortshøj  

Ceramics exhibition catalogue