Keen to find out more about Den Danske Keramikfabrik, I had coffee yesterday at the Design Museum with Alikka Garder Petersen and Tine Broksø, two of the ceramicists behind the new factory, and with Susanne Meyer who is working on their publicity.
The idea for the factory actually evolved from meetings of a ceramic club in Copenhagen. Many ceramicists work alone or share studios with one or two other artists and may take interns but contact and support from other professionals is important. In their studios, it is obvious that production has to be geared up to the kiln and the number of potters or ceramicists working there so, for very simple practical reasons, it can be difficult to respond if there is, for instance a large order for tableware or an idea to work on something that is much more ambitious or possibly more demanding technically.
Den Danske Keramikfabrik will provide those facilities and open up commercial possibilities for not just the initial group of 16 ceramicists but also other studios and other artists around the region … so already there has been a meeting in Malmö to involve studios and ceramicists in southern Sweden and the idea is to attract work from further afield including north Germany.
Bornholm is well placed geographically with ferries from Ystad and the flights from Copenhagen airport taking around 30 minutes. This was seen to be crucial if artists are to work closely with the production team in the factory.
The factory site in Nexø was first seen in May 2014 and it is planned to open in the New Year so progress is fast. There will be an administrative board of five with three ceramicists and two business members.
From the start there has been a focus on conservation and sustainability, aware of their use of water, the need to recycle heat from the kilns and to use renewable energy where possible.
A factory mark has been designed for pieces produced by the factory and it is hoped that work will include that mark to identify the pieces as made in Denmark and made by hand although of course some artists and some design companies may opt to use just their own mark.
An initial range of pieces called Upside Down will be produced for an exhibition on Danish Design Now that opens at the Design Museum on the 13th November. That range will showcase what the factory can provide in terms of techniques, skills and expertise and will be produced as a limited and numbered collection for sale with 100 copies of each piece.