carola gänsslen keramik

article in KeramikMagazinEuropa 5.06

I ended up in ceramics by chance. After finishing high school, I started an apprenticeship in Fritz Göllnerís workshop. Quite honestly, the Ďearthyí didnít interest me at all. I saw the apprenticeship as more of a stop-over. I wanted to study design, or painting, perhaps.

But then I discovered colours. This was a real discovery, as nobody was making multi-coloured ceramics at that time. We just clicked. I graduated from the Fachhochschule für Keramikgestaltung (Technical College for Ceramic Design) in Höhr-Grenzhausen in 1989. The decision to exhibit at the Frankfurt Fair from the beginning and forego selling my pieces at pottery fairs was the second bright idea. A one-woman workshop with unusual pieces, with no piece matching another, was perfect for gallerists and dealers. Iíve stayed true to this approach ever since.

My art allows me to work very openly. At the outset I experimented a lot. Over the years Iíve grown calmer. Iíve developed standards for myself, a kind of basis from which new patterns grow. I work day by day. One thing develops from the last. As a result, I donít actually issue any new collections. The new evolves from something Iíve been working on for a long time.

My personal patterns and techniques are the result of my passion for experimenting. For instance, if I layer the colours and glazes, they become transparent after having been fired. At first glance my pieces look as if they are made of porcelain, or glass. I find it intriguing that critics, potential buyers and collectors compare my works to exotic art. Theyíll say it looks Mexican, or reminds them of Asian art. Iíve heard this from different people around the

world. I sell in Kuwait, Dubai, the USA. In those countries, on the other hand, my ceramics are considered to be very European.

Iíve never made a complete set. I create variations of objects that can be combined with each other. If Iím laying a table for a special occasion, Iíll use my motherís white porcelain and add a few of my large and small bowls, or the desert plates. You can also combine them with glass.

I donít have enough pieces in the house to make up a complete set. I have a few favourite pieces in my cupboard, and a few collectorís items by other artists made of glass or clay. I donít collect my own works and I donít document them. What Iíve made is completed and has to leave the house. Iím relieved when itís all gone. I donít even want to keep those pieces I really like. Iím only really satisfied when they too are packed up and shipped out.

At the moment Iím working on pitchers. The fundamental concept is to design a larger, more simple vessel. The shape is central to my multi-coloured decoration; too much detail only distracts. The Frankfurt Fair is on in August again. Luckily, Iíve always been able to rely on a creative surge before then. It almost seems as if, the more I work, the faster my brain cells get. By the way, my favourite colour is turquoise, even though I use so much orange and red. In the meantime everythingís almost too red for me, but this is changing as well. New things only evolve from something Iíve been working on for quite a while.