Denmark has a rich tradition of the ceramic craft, where the historic names like Axel Salto, Kähler, Arne Bang, Saxbo, Søholm, Bjørn Wiinblad, Palshus, Knabstrup, Michael Andersen - just to mention a few, have been in the middle of making Denmark one of the must-visit countries for a ceramic fan. But it's not only the historic tradition of this craft, that is the reason for, why you should visit my lovely Denmark. In the last years, the ceramic craft has moved into a new area, where new and extremely talented artists interpret and create new ceramics, that explores and shows new sides of the Danish craft tradition and speaks into the New Nordic way of living and eating. You can find and buy more of the beautiful Scandinavian ceramics here.
But where to start, let's begin with the newly named Craft Region - the island Bornholm.
The new World Craft Region; Unique in the Arts & Crafts
In 2017 Bornholm was awarded the title World Craft Region, and this no coincidence, the island is renowned for its large number of skilled craft artists - and rightfully so. They are instrumental in profiling an area devoted to quality and aesthetics where artists are inspired and feel free to pursue their craft, yet also an area with a strong sense of artistic community.
This is no coincidence, as Bornholm is also where it typical all begins for every ceramist artist... KADK - School of Design's Craft Programme - Glass and Ceramics are located on Bornholm. The school is built around one of Europe's small, but leading educational environments in the fields of glass and ceramics. The programme takes place in the school at Nexø. You can see more about the school's work here.
Bornholm’s craft artists are as widely different as imaginable. They epitomise diversity - not only in terms of temperament, mode of expression and choice of material but also in their basic working conditions, sources of inspiration and methods of presentation. So my first tip is to just drive around the island and follow all the ceramic-signs. By doing so you can visit all the independent artists and experience their work in the true surroundings. Must visits are artists like Oh Oak ("The Brown Studio") in Nexø, Løv i Listed, Mette Frendrup in Allinge, Eva Brandt and Mølgaard & Marcussen in Rønne - and many many more. You can find a full list of all the artists on the island here.
"Den Danske Keramikfabrik", a new ceramics production facility
The Danish ceramic Fabric produces handmade ceramics for anybody who insists on quality and competitive prices.The factory is owned by nineteen ceramic artists who have united to create a ceramics production facility in Denmark. Their vision is a lively setting in which knowledge and know-how remain in Danish hands and the eighteen owners and external customers can immerse themselves in developing products in close cooperation with the factory’s skilled artisans. You can see more of the factory's work here.
Credit: Oh Oak - The Nexø Collection
Bornholm Museum consists of four exciting and very researching just exhibition spaces: Cultural Historical Museum, Hjorths Ceramic Factory, Melstedgård and Erich's Farm.
The Ceramic part of the museum is placed in a 150-year-old ceramic factory (Hjorths Ceramic Factory), which is still producing stoneware after the original principles. Activities in the ceramics workshop, shop, and garden. Here you can see exhibitions of ceramics on and around the island of Bornholm, and experience a unique industrial environment. In the autumn and summer season, you can visit the factory's workshops and see work processes that still operate on the original principles.
You can see more about the museum here.
Credit: Bornholm Museum; Hjort's factory
Where to stay and eat?
Last time I went to the island, we had the pleasure to stay at 'Nordlandet', which is a beautiful hotel located right on the sea edge and has the most amazing views. The rooms are carefully decorated with interior in Nordic minimalistic style - a true pleasure to wake up in. See more here
Bornholm is not only a mecca for craft and ceramics, it's also an amazing dining experience. Almost in every city, you will find one of the old smoke-houses, where you can eat traditional and fresh smoked fish. And in the evening I would recommend a visit to one of the fine-dining restaurants. Last time I had the pleasure to eat at the restaurant at Nordlandet, and it was a truly delicious and amazing experience. And as an extra treat for a ceramic lover, all the dishes are served on beautiful handmade ceramics by Løv i Listed. Remember to book in advance, see more here.
Credit: Restaurant Nordlandet
Copenhagen just has too much to offer to put in this guide - so if Copenhagen is your stop - go see the Copenhagen guide (coming soon). But I would recommend giving the rest of our lovely country a change - especially if you like to get ahead in the ceramic hunt :)
Gulderagergaard - Skælskør
Do your self the pleasure of taking the train or driving to the Danish town Skælskør and visit the international ceramic research center Guldagergaard. Check before you go if there are any exhibitions planned, it's always a pleasure to experience the artists-in-residence work.
Guldagergaard ['Gool-aya-goh] means Golden Acre farm and has been the name of this place for more than a century. In 1997 the International Ceramic Research Center Guldagergaard was established and their goal is still to offer international artist-in-residence, well-equipped studios and technical staff ready to help to put their visions into clay.
End your stay at Guldagergaard with a visit in their sculpture garden. Guldagergaard is located in the middle of a public ceramic sculpture park. Guldagergaard has a history as an important fruit farm for this area in Denmark. The former owner also had a huge interest in rare plants and trees and founded the park in the earlier 1910’s. The garden itself looks like it has done for decades but now with the addition of several ceramic sculptures.
Klik here for more info on Guderagergaard.
Credit: Gulderagergaard "Picture of The Porcelain Three by Dr. Paul Scott."
Louisiana - Museum of Modern Art
Always worth a visit - the beautiful museum Louisiana. The museum is located in Humlebæk, which just a small train ride away from Copenhagen. One of my favorite places to visit, sometimes just to have dinner and enjoy the beautiful architecture. The museum holds besides many interesting and often changing exhibitions - a large and great curated museum shop. The Louisiana Shop carries a variety of high-quality design products. The assortment of items ranges from classic to new and experimental Scandinavian design. The Louisiana Shop receives inspiration both from within and without. While the selection of items reflects the latest trends in design, it is also influenced by the changing special exhibitions at the museum. Here you can always find some beautiful ceramics made by Danish or Scandinavian artists. See more here
Credit: Lousiana, Instagram; facade
CLAY Museum of Ceramic Art Denmark
A must see if you're a ceramic fan is the “CLAY Museum of Ceramic Art Denmark”, where you can and enjoy the finest ceramic arts and crafts ranging from a 235-year-old plate in the Royal Copenhagen porcelain collection to the experimental work of the contemporary artist. The museum has recently been transformed from a small museum located in a beautiful old villa to also include a spacious, modern building.This new building offers 1,500 square meters situated both above and below ground level. The ceramic art is literally surrounded by its own material, clay.
Credit: Clay "Picture of the newly renovated part of Clay."
Jylland - Jutland
Being the largest part of Denmark you, of course, a find lots of exciting ceramic studios and shop spread all over this area of Denmark. You can go north and experience the wild nature of Vesterhavet - and visit ceramic artist Dorthe Hansen in her old school, which is a studio, store, and café. More info here. Or visit Kolding, the place of Design School Kolding, where artists like Julie Damhus, Susan Lange - and many more are trained. Also worth mentioning is, of course, Aage and Kasper Würtz are an internationally sought-after father and son team of studio ceramists. While their location is Horsens, Denmark, a provincial town on the Jutland mainland, they are becoming known far and wide for their hand-thrown, hand-glazed designs — most notably the crockery they produce for a growing number of New Nordic and other contemporary gourmet restaurants around the world — from Geranium, Noma and Amass in Copenhagen to Törst and Luksus in Brooklyn. You can see more info about KH Würtz here.
Credit: KH Würtz @Andrea Gentl
Only time to go one place?
Then I would recommend a trip to Århus. A large city filled with nice cafés, museums, shops and of course ceramics. I listed some of my favorite places below:
Nr. 4 - a mix of ceramics, jewelry and other types of crafts. More info here
Formuleret - ceramic studio & store Ninna Gøtzsche, more info here
Godsbanen - a melting point for cultural development and craftsmanship. Here's a mix of events, open studios where you can make and create and a lot of classes are also held at this location! See more info here
1 + 1 Textile - where you can find some of the city's best ceramic selections. More info here.
'Interørfabrikken', The interior factory sell designer items from a lot of upcoming designers. The store is tucked away in a side street close to the bus station and is aesthetically and beautifully decorated in the small cozy rooms. More info here.
Credit: Chri Chri; Interiør Fabrikken
That's it, folks - enjoy your stay in my lovely little land.