As some of you might know I do (apart from this blog) a lot of editorial work for magazines – mostly gardens, food and lifestyle – and that part of my job is something I really love doing. And even if I love the way I’ve used this blog as my personal creative space where I can grow and experiment creatively, I’ve been wanting for quite some time now to occasionally write about and publish other stuff than my own recipes. And the idea has dwelled in my head for a while now to do interviews with ceramicists whose work I love.
And what could be a better match for a food blog than tableware and ceramics?
So I have decided to start a new series called ‘Creative Q&A’ where I’ll focus on ceramicists that make beautiful every day use objects. Objects that I admire and that you see in use often here on the blog. Today you’ll get to meet Elin Lannsjö – a wonderful person and ceramicist based out of Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden.
Elin creates unique, functional and awesomely beautiful objects for everyday use. Each piece is made entirely by hand and topped with glazes in beautiful natural hues. All of the items are produced in small batch runs that will make daily life that much more beautiful.
She says she doesn’t strive for ‘perfection’ in her work. She wants every piece to be unique and with irregularities so that you can see it has been made by human hand.
And with love.
Elin was kind enough to answer a few questions – and to let me have a look inside her little cottage where she often comes alone to work or with her fiancé just to hang out.
How long have you been making ceramics for?
I’ve been doing it for six years now.
What was it that made you realize ceramics was something you wanted to spend your days doing?
I’ve always been interested in design which led me to study a few design oriented courses at university about eight years ago. At that time my focus was on textile design, and I experimented a lot with pattern design and so on. It was somewhere during that time that my passion for creative stuff was born. I became fascinated with the creative process of starting with an idea or a vision and then just ‘see what happens’.
It was a little later that my interest for clay started. I took a course to learn the basic methods which gave me a good foundation to start experimenting on my own. Ever since, I have been ‘learning by doing’ and I’ve learned especially much from all the mistakes (she says and smiles)! It is also out of passion and curiosity for the craftsmanship that I’ve learned the most. Because when you learn out of curiosity and on your own terms you learn things suited to your own interests and needs.
Is there anything in particular that inspires you in your creative process?
I love to surround myself with natural elements and materials, and there are of course certain environments where I feel more at ease than others. Environments that trigger my creativity. But creativity is also such an ongoing and abstract process where sometimes you’re not really sure what it was that inspired you in the first place.
When I look actively to be inspired though, I turn to fashion, interiors or beautiful photographs in magazines and on blogs. When I create a piece the process often starts with a shape or an idea that appeals to me and then I just go from there. I often also get inspired during the process of creating my pieces – an unexpected effect in the glaze, or when I during the process discover new qualities of the clay I’m working with that makes me want to try new things.
Your dishes and platters are a perfect canvas for food presentation but also for display of other items in the home or to create beautiful stills around the house. Do you have a certain use in mind when you create a new piece?
The aesthetics is always the most important for me no matter what piece I create. I want my pieces to be beautiful and appealing just to look at. But my vision is also that the pieces should be functional for the every day use of the owner. And last but not least, I also love the idea of when not ‘using’ an item it should be decorative just as it is. Perhaps as an eye-catcher on a windowsill or on a sideboard.
Do you have a personal ‘darling piece’ among your work?
I especially love my large ‘Giant’ urns. They are massive and they take weeks to make. The process of making them is also really interesting since the drying time is quite long and you can change its shape and form as you go. It is a very rewarding and inspiring way to work.
And lastly – a giveaway!
Elin has also been kind enough to share a small dish for a giveaway with one lucky reader. It is the dish named ‘Oh Sailor’ with a hand drawn anchor (pictured below).
Isn’t it just too cute?
If you would like to win, simply leave a comment below. The giveaway will close on Sunday, April 27th. And please make sure to leave your name and contact email so I can get in touch with you. And you are welcome to join in regardless of where you live in the world!