ceramics at the Frue Plads market

Ane-Katrine von Bülow, Møntergade 6, Copenhagen


The annual craft market on Frue Plads in Copenhagen provides an amazing opportunity to see a huge range of styles, forms and colours of ceramics of the highest quality. 

To start with the mundane … pottery is simply carefully selected earth that has been formed into a shape that is dried; possibly decorated - with incised, applied or painted decoration - and usually, but not always, covered with a glaze and then fired in a kiln at a greater or lesser temperature, depending on the nature and qualities of the clay and the effect planned, for the finished work to form a resilient and long-lasting piece. 

But then the reality, or at least the reality here is that the ceramics produced are personal and dynamic. For a start, the ceramics reflect the quality of the clay chosen - fine and regular and able to form a thin and precise shape and fired at a high temperature - or heavier or even with an inherent colour ranging from pale grey through to deep brown depending on minerals present in the clay. And texture varies from almost impossibly smooth to almost gritty clay used for robust and organic work and the forms that are possible range from almost impossibly delicate to strong and sculptural and the finish from precise regularity through to an almost-free irregularity. Colour for a glaze or for painted decoration applied to the surface can be anything from a thin wash, reminiscent of a water-colour painting, to a depth of colour that is almost so thick and so deep that it is almost tangible and designs can be anything from fine graphic lines to the boldest and strongest shapes and patterns.

Perhaps it is this almost infinite number of permutations for form, colour and texture that make ceramics so attractive not least because each piece reflects the taste and the interests of the individual ceramicist and works are often the product of a long period of experimentation with the careful development of a technique to create the form or pattern envisioned.


Anne Rolsted, Kagerupvej 22, Regstrup

Charlotte Nielsen, Reerslevvej 20a, Ruds Vedby

Karin Patricia Jensen, Anna Queens Stræde 5, Helsingør

Bente Brosböl Hansen, 1685 Klåverröd, Sweden

Finn Dam Rasmussen, Haredalen 4, Tisvildeleje

Jytte Strøm, Torupvejen 109, Hundested

Helle Vestergaard, Kigkuren 8d, Copenhagen

Nelly Gaskin, Gammeltotv 2a, Skælskør

Birgitte and Hans Börjeson, FulbyGl Skole, Dansbrovej 2, Sorø

Note there were over 130 stalls at the market so the selection here is simply of images that give an impression of the huge range of styles and forms of work shown at the market. Also the event was packed with visitors and there is an amazing crowd dynamic where, as soon as you find some space and an open view of a work, at least six people, thinking you must have spotted something good, step in front of the camera to get a closer view themselves of what must be really interesting … because someone is photographing. And of course it is not the most appropriate time to talk to a maker/designer when they have to focus on those people actually buying … but several names were noted down for visits to studios later in the year.

Names highlighted here in bold green type should give a direct link to the artists own site and details but the web site of Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere has an excellent gazetteer with links and images.

work in wood at the craft market

Monomade in Denmark


The craft market on Frue Plads is not an obvious venue for craft pieces in wood … the cabinet makers' guild hold regular exhibitions for major pieces and also general design shows and markets such as northmodern or the Finders Keepers market are a good place to find handmade one-off or small run pieces in wood made by craftsmen.

However there were two stalls at the Frue Plads market that had work in wood and both illustrated simple but important points about good design.

Monomade in Denmark was founded by the architects Kira Snowman and Uffe Topsøe-Jensen and is based in Copenhagen. Their beautifully simple - or, rather better to say, deceptively simple pieces - show how important it is to design with clean lines, careful use of appropriate proportions and using the very best timber to highlight and enhance the qualities of the material itself … the goal is to achieve a balanced partnership between the natural material and the skill of the maker.

The ceramicist Jenni Godtlebsen used shelves and a hanging rack by Vestwood with her amazing cups and plates to show how the the pieces do have a clear functional role in a kitchen as well as being beautiful ceramic works but the juxtaposition of fired and glazed pieces set against the natural wood emphasises that ceramics too are made from a natural material. As with timber, it is the variations and the slight irregularities in the finished and fired ceramics that give the works a warmth and vitality.

ceramics by Janni Godtliebsen with wood peg storage rail by Vest Wood

Kunsthåndværker Markedet … amazing art and/or beautiful utility?

mugs by Janni Godtliebsen


A significant proportion of the ceramic works on show at the craft market were clearly decorative and that’s fine … the potter as ceramic artist or maker. Glass at this level of design and craftsmanship tends to be more practical so there were certainly wine glasses and jugs at the market but still plenty of presentation pieces. Many of the stalls had flowers or fruit in their vases or bowls but this was presumably to make the display as attractive as possible rather than suggest clear practical use. 

Believe me, this is not a criticism of the designers and artists but may simply reflect the practical approach of the Danes to buying table ware and glass and ceramics for their dining rooms and kitchens. There is probably a clear division in people’s minds between decorative work and practical table ware. I was just curious that although there were mugs and so on, which were clearly to be seen as something special … a gift or a treat to oneself … it would have been difficult to go around the market and buy enough tableware to set a table for a full dinner.

Perhaps this is not the right venue for that … the Kunsthåndværker Markedet does show the work of some of the best craft artists in the country but on the other hand it does deliberately call itself a craft market and not an art fair.

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the craft market at Frue Plads on its first afternoon

An initial post of photographs to show the range and the quality of the craft and design at the craft market on Frue Plads.


1 the craft market on the first afternoon

2 ceramics from Ane-Katrine von Bülow, Montergade 6, Copenhagen 

3 ceramics from Finn Dam Rasmussen, Haredalen 4, Tisvildeleje 

4 Anne Rolsted, Kagerupvej 22, Regstrup 

5 large plate from Jytte Strom, Torupvejen 109, Hundested  

6 glass from Glaspusteriet Bülow Duus, Studsgade 14, Århus

7 wine glasses by Lena Ljungar and Jesper Sødring Venmenæsvej 10, Svendborg      

8 glass containers and vases by Marion Fortat, Vesterbogade 137, Copenhagen V 

9 textiles from the weaver Pia Jensen, Smallegade 52, Frederiksberg

Kunsthåndværker Markedet


Kunsthåndvæker Markedet - the annual craft fair on Frue Plads in Copenhagen - will open on the 11th August and continue on the 12th and 13th.  Frue Plads is the square across the north side of Vor Frue Kirke in the centre of Copenhagen.

Organised by the association for crafts - K&D or Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere - there will be more than 130 stalls at the market. The list of major designers and makers from across Denmark who are showing their work is strong for ceramics and glass and jewellery but there will also be work by basket makers, textile designers and graphic artists.

This is an amazing opportunity to see and to buy some of the very best craft work from Danish designers and makers.


Kunsthåndvæker Markedet, Frue Plads, Copenhagen

Thursday 11 August 12.00 -19.00

Friday 12th August 10.00 - 19.00

Saturday 13th August 10.00 - 16-00

Kunsthåndværker Markedet, Frue Plads, Copenhagen


Concentrating on writing up my thoughts on northmodern, I have only just got around to posting a few photographs of the annual Kunsthåndværker Markedet - Craft Market - on Frue Plads in Copenhagen that was there from the 13th to the 15th August. With 124 stalls around the square, the market showed the works of makers from all over Denmark with jewellery, glass ware, ceramics and so on.

Although I’m not a great one for ornaments of any kind, I do admire the works of craftsmen-artists, but, generally, I’m more interested in the practical items of tableware or those pieces that fit in that interesting area between art and industrial design so hand-made glassware or table pottery.


As at last year's market, I was drawn to the work of Anne Mette Hjørnholm, the basket maker from Hjerm, and this year I took a business card from Rasmus Cold … his hand-made frames for glasses are amazing and will be considered when I need to change my reading glasses.


The black and white, tightly-patterned ceramic pieces by Ane-Katrine von Bülow are striking.


What was so impressive again this year was not just the range of crafts on display and not just the high quality of the works but actually the crowds of people who attended a fair spread over three days showing clearly how strong and how popular hand crafts are in Denmark.


Kunsthåndværker Markedet