It was a particular pleasure to have the eminent maker Gabriele Koch with us for this last Makers Lunch of the year. We have shown her work at Bevere on at least two occasions and her work always adds something special to the look of the Gallery.
Gabriele was born in Germany, although she has lived and worked in the UK for many years. She concentrates on simple forms, trying to relate equilibrium and tension, stillness and movement, expansion and the containment of volume. Contrast of colour is produced by the colours of the clay, black and white.
The work we have in the gallery before us is a significant number given that Gabriele is only physically able to produce around twenty pieces a year. Whist she explained that her spinal/neck problems had seriously hampered her production, it also became more evident during our discussion that these apparently simple pieces took considerable time to process and complete – particularly the use of integrated porcelain decoration and the paring back of surplus material.
We talked at length about her training in the UK at Goldsmiths and the contrast between British and German ceramic cultures. As we discovered, during the discussion with Yo Thom and Akiko Hirai, Britain provides a greater professional freedom for personal development for the young ambitious maker.
Hand-building is obviously an important aspect of the making process for Gabriele. She coils her pots and their shape and shaping is at the heart of her making ethos.
It became increasingly evident as the event proceeded that Gabriele has an insatiable creative drive and she continues to make wonderful pots notwithstanding her physical constraints – long may she do so!
3 December 2018