Louise Gelderblom: Ceramics with a deeply personal touch
September 07, 20203 min read
THE ARTIST: LOUISE GELDERBLOM IN HER OWN WORDS
Louise Gelderblom’s ceramic forms retain a strong element of traditional African craft production methods while embracing a modern, global, urban aesthetic. They reconcile the connections between traditional clay practice and high end design. Here, she gives us an insight into her work, her influences and her creative process.
“I am an artist and designer based in Cape Town, where I have lived my entire adult life. I grew up in small towns in South Africa with parents who were both involved in art education. My visual/cultural awareness developed during the 1970s, as a young child, with all the Skandi interiors, autumn colors, abstract expressionism, pop music, etc. influencing our rather safe, small existence, within the warped reality of Apartheid South Africa.
I trained in graphic arts, photography and philosophy of art, and for the first couple of years of my working life I was mostly a graphic designer, illustrator and design educator. Since 1994, I have focused mostly on ceramic work - ceramics tend to take over a studio very quickly. Very soon after this change of focus, I decided to make only stuff that I felt like making, rather than what I thought the market would want. This was a bold move, but I have never regretted it – it gives my work authenticity and longevity. I really don’t mind what I am called…artist, designer, maker, creative. I hope that my work will always speak for itself.”
A SLOW YET FEARLESS APPROACH TO CERAMICS
“My ceramics are made by hand. I use slow, low tech production methods, locally sourced materials and I complete every vessel from start to finish in my home studio. My studio is at the foot of Table Mountain - a short distance from the sea- and I think that the natural world around me often informs my approach.
I have always enjoyed challenging the notion that working in ceramics is limiting…in size, shape, function. I suppose the fact that I have no formal ceramic training made me more fearless. I enjoy working in larger format ceramics because the bigger surfaces allow my designs some space on which I can play. The larger planes of my work mean that small details which would get lost on smaller pieces have the opportunity to be the hero.”
LOUISE GELDERBLOM’S SIGNATURE MARKINGS, TEXTURE & COLOR
“Although my work is mostly neutral in appearance there is complexity and variety. I focus a lot of my energy on creating tonal variation through mark making and texture. My ‘signature’ sgraffito markings are a great example of creating a complex surface using repetitive marks and tone rather than a variety of colors. My staple colors are black, white and various greys which I think refers both to my history in graphic design as well as the influences on my work. Cape Town, where I work, has very impressive winter storms for example, that are really complex in their nature because of the great relief they bring to the environment as well as the severe damage they cause to homes across the Cape. If I am influenced by such a complex environment it only makes sense that my colors will be equally complex in their nature.”
We love the personal touch that Louise Gelderblom brings to her work. Each piece is an insight into her life and mind – inspired by inspired by literature, typography, repetition, the natural environment, travel and human connection. The shapes and markings of her work appear to be spontaneous and random but they are in fact highly intentional and deliberate. Her hands are present in every detail and we can’t wait for her story to be told in your home.