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Odyssey Ceramic Arts - Anja Bartels

Anja Bartels

Anja2014 octoplatter 
Bridging traditional fine porcelain with new design ideas is the primary focus of my work: my pots are edgy yet elegant. Classic simple shapes allow me to apply playful designs and I aspire to have an element of surprise in my work.

I am drawn to high contrast black and white sgraffito decoration, as well as simple white on white slipwork. Having grown up in a port town on the North Sea I am inspired by anything nautical, tall ships, driftwood I find on the beach, sea creatures or old woodcuts.

It was in an old pottery studio on a farm in Virginia where I made my first humble attempts in throwing pots on the wheel. I fell in love quickly and a few years later that passion prompted me to move back to Germany to enroll in a traditional three year apprenticeship with a master potter in hopes of a deeper understanding of clay and and a solid education.

During my training I was taught to throw porcelain, a process that takes great concentration and gentleness. I came to love the way the material responds to my hands and the way it feel between my fingers.

I am fascinated by the way the apparent fragility of my delicate forms is juxtaposed to the extreme strength of the fired porcelain.

A big part of my work is craftsmanship. I strive for precision in my shapes, the control I have over the clay and the focussed work on the potter's wheel fill me with a sense of quiet accomplishment.

The painting and carving process allows me to be creative and spontanious. Trying to tie the shape of the pot into the surface décor gets me excited which each new piece and keeps me on my toes every time.
anjabigplateAnja Bartels is a journeyman potter with a passion for wheel thrown porcelain. She moved to her new home in Asheville after completing a traditional apprenticeship under the German guild system. Having grown up on the North Sea is a key inspiration for Anja, and her love for marine life is reflected in her art.

Visit Anja's Website