Tension is shaped by the interaction of surface tension, shape, intense heat and gravity
The dishes in the ’Tension’ series explore the surface tension of glaze as its interacts with the properties of the stoneware clay, the shape of the dish, the intense heat in the kiln and, not least, gravity. The precise outcome of the process thus depends on a variety of factors, including the amount and viscosity of the glaze itself. Variations in these factors determine whether the glaze will slide off the ceramic surface, creating new forms without the maker’s touch, or whether it binds to the clay, forming thick ripples and waves, as it is pulled this way and that.
These experiments with the surface tension of glaze follow as a natural next step after Christina Schou Christensen’s earlier projects where she experimented with the viscosity of glaze. She carefully shapes and determines factors that she expects will lead to a given expression, but in true experimental fashion, the actual expression is determined out of reach, behind locked doors in the hot inferno of the kiln. As a framework for the surprising and radical shapes that sometimes emerge, she uses the familiar form of the dish, which we recognize from traditional ceramics.
Christina Schou Christensen
b.1973, Danish ceramist
Christina Schou Christensen generally views her works as experiments. She explores a field that is hard to control, and where the outcome is difficult, if not impossible, to predict. She sets certain parameters for the unfolding of the materials, but the process and the interactions among the materials are crucial for the outcome. In traditional serial production, the ceramicist’s emphasis is on controlling the process and minimizing the accidents that almost inevitably occur in the kiln from time to time, such as objects cracking or falling over or glaze failing to bind to the clay. In Christina Schou Christensen’s work, these ’disasters’ are desirable outcomes that point the way to new possibilities and expression.
Glaze in particular is a key focus of her work. Traditionally, ceramic glaze is used to make utilitarian objects user-friendly and durable. But when exposed to the highest temperatures in the kiln, glaze is in fact liquid glass with unique properties and potentials. In Christina Schou Christensen’s work, glaze is not merely a coating that affects the colour and texture of a piece but an equal form element in its own right, capable of radically altering the form of the object.
2011: Ceramicst, The Danish Design School, Bornholm (now Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design)
Grants and honours
2012, 2013, 2014: working grants from the Danish Arts Foundation
2013: Annie & Otto Johs. Detlefs travel grant
2012: Solo Award, Spring Exhibition Charlottenborg, Copenhagen
2015: ‘Fetishism: Obsessions in Fashion & Design’, Trapholt, Kolding, Denmark
2015: ‘Crafted: Objects of Flux’, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
2013: ‘Danish Design at the House. 40th anniversary of The Opera House’, Sydney
2012: Kunstforeningen af 14. august
2011: Danish Arts Foundation