Monthly Archives: June 2011

Gustavo Perez Mexican ceramicist.


Contemporary Hispanic pottery of Gustav Perez


“Pre-Hispanic art is part of my background, but everyone loves this work. How it becomes a part of my work, I don’t know. Maybe it is in my subconscious. Things grow inside me. They have been growing for years. Maybe I had one idea when I was five years old and it took fifty years to come out. I think I have a huge cocktail of “influences,” including architecture, dance, literature, music — all of these have influenced my work.

I don’t follow what’s going on in the world of ceramics. I’m not aware of trends. I’m friends with some other artists, but I work all the time. I care only about my own work. My only other passions are classical music and literature. If I have any time not working, I want to read literature. I don’t want to look at what other people are making. I don’t care about vacations. I crave time to work. When possible, I work alone. I receive very few visitors. I don’t “have wine” in the studio. This takes too much time. Truly, I’m not arrogant; it’s only that I value my time so much. I love working! I do enjoy people, but I enjoy clay so much more. My clay is my life.” ( from an interview at Gustav Perez’s studio in Xalapa with Maya Shacter )



Gustavo Perez contemporary vase

 ” I can’t think of a better way to define my work than quoting what Franz Schubert once said: “I just finish one piece and begin the next”. ……Gustavo Perez

Recently, Gustavo completed an excellent interview with keramiekatelier

Gustavo Perez -abstract vessel

Can you tell us something about yourself? Where do you live and work?

I am Mexican, I work mostly at my studio in Zoncuantla in the state of Veracruz, in Mexico. But I also work, a few months every year, in the atelier of my partner Brigitte Pénicaud in France, at Les Places, close to Argenton sur Creuse.

Where did you study ceramics or another art discipline?

I studied for two years at Escuela de Diseño y Artesanías in Mexico City (1971-73). Then, after some ten years of work, I had a grant to study for two years in the Sint Joost Akademie voor Beeldende Kunst, in Breda, in the Netherlands.

Gustavo Perez contemporary vessel

Gustavo Perez contemporary vessel


Which reasons do you have for choosing clay as means to express yourself or realise your ideas, concepts or forms ?

Many times I have said I did not really choose clay; I have the feeling that in fact clay chose me… for several years I had been looking for something to devote my life to, it was a difficult time. But the moment I smelled (!) clay in an atelier, and I saw a throwing wheel, I knew that was the activity I had been looking for.

What was the starting point where from your current work has grown?

The throwing wheel, it all starts there.

Which message you hope to convey to your spectators?

I hope it can be understood that if one wants to be creative with clay, craftmanship (le métier), is essential. I am convinced of the necessity to give everything one can give, and for many years, before a personal way, a personal language can be discovered. For me it took some 22 years before I could feel there was something that I could call really mine.

Creativity is a deep mystery, something like source that does not flow until a certain personal “position” (an attitude, a confidence, an openness) is found. And this sort of secret cannot be transmitted, it has to be a personal discovery after a lot of work… so, the only possible idea to transmit would be this: you need to work and work and work…



Which importance has design in your work and what is the relation between design and clay?

It is important. Because while in fact what I do in my research is mostly playing with the possibilities that appear along the development of series of pieces, I am aware that I always do it in a certain quite systematic way: going from one piece to the next as in a game, trying just every idea that comes to my mind.
And about the relation between design and clay, I can say that I cannot see at all a border separating art and design. Or at least I do not care about it.

Gustavo Perez vessel


What is the meaning of colour for you and your work and what is the relation between colour and clay?

Gustavo perez contemporary ceramicsGustavo perez contemporary ceramics Green, white and yellow pottery vesselColour seems not to be as essential for me as form and surface treatment. For some years, while my work concentrated basically on the graphic aspects of what can be done on a pot’s surface, I had the feeling that a good black glaze was all I needed to develop my ideas. However, nowadays I am convinced there has to be a certain presence of colour in my work, because I definitely feel some few colours that belong to it: subdued, natural… colours that are close to earth, to the colour of clay itself.

What was for you the most important moment in your ceramic career?

I guess it was the moment when I discovered, by accident, the effect produced on the wall of a thrown piece by making an incision open as in a wound. What Garth Clark called “the gentle cuts”. This discovery produced without a doubt the international recognition for my work. And I must say that I felt a profound pleasure in realizing that such a simple effect (because it is indeed a very easy technical resource) had never been used in the thousands of years of ceramics history, ot at least, never had been really developed.

Gustavo-Perez-contemporary pottery
A strange thing is that nowadays there are many young ceramists using this effect on their work (which is alright with me, I never tried to keep it as a secret or a personal “property”), and even some that claim to have discovered the effect themselves… which is not for me as easy to take. (Of course you are aware, because it happened in your own Keramiek Atelier page, of a discussion around such a situation)

Which artist is or has been an inspiration for you?

Just too many. But to mention one, Brancusi.
Or to mention two: Schubert
Or three: Rembrandt… Picasso, Francis Bacon, Paul Klee, etc…

Which ceramic works and ceramist do you admire in your own country and internationally?

In Mexico I respect the work of Jorge Wilmot, from the generation before mine.
And internationally…. many:
First: Hans Coper, a deep influence.
Also, from the past, Kanjiro Kawai.
From our times, there are really many whose work I follow with interest. I cannot mention them all (I will forget many important ones) but in a fast recollection I would say: Gordon Baldwin, Claude Champy, Claudi Casanovas, Lawson Oyekan, Peter Voulkos, Bernard de Jonghe, Johan van Loon, Enrique Mestre, Yasuo Hayashi, Eva Hild, Alison Britton, Tatsusuke Kuriki, etc.

Can you remember the best ceramic exhibition you ever saw?

Maybe Claudi Casanovas at Boijmanns Museum in Rotterdam, 1982 (?)

Do you have a gallery where we can see your work or where you exhibit frequently?

The Frank Lloyd Gallery in the USA

Loes en Reinier, Deventer, Nederland

Puls in Brussels

Galerie Capazza, Nançay, France

Galerie de l’Ancienne Poste, Toucy, France

Do you have one or more exhibitions in the near future?

At the Frank Lloyd Gallery.                                   March 19
Puls.                                                                               September

Do you have a website?

It is under construction, almost ready

Thank you very much.

Graag gedaan
Hartelijke groeten,

Gustavo Pérez

Reproduced from :




Gustavo-perez-pottery vessel




Gustavo-Perez-ceramic vase



Gustavo-perez-ceramic art installation


The above exhibition piece was from the seventh solo exhibition of Perez’s work which was displayed at the Frank Lloyd Gallery. Two large scale examples of his work were included in this show, Triangulo and Tablero. The installation piece Triangulo is composed of dozens of small cylinders, cut at a precise angle and placed face-to-face in opposition. The sculpture forms an equilateral triangle, and though it is based in geometry alludes simultaneously to minimal art and optical illusion. Tablero is a wall relief, composed of 49 small abstract forms. Although the individual pieces are made by straightforward folding and forming of the clay, the resulting image has a primitive presence.

Gustavo Perez Ceramic Vessel with contemporary surface decoration

Gustavo Perez Ceramic Vessel

Gustavo Perez Contemporary Vases

Gustavo Perez Vases

Gustavo Perez incised and folded geometric vessel

Gustavo Perez incised and folded geometric vessel

Gustavo Perez geometric vase elegant contemporary in mustard and sage green

Gustavo Perez geometric vase

Sculptural vessel - Gustavo Perez

Sculptural vessel – Gustavo Perez

gustavo perez vase with vertical incisions

Gustavo Perez incised vase

Two Gustavo Perez vessels

Two Gustavo Perez vessels

Gustavo Perez abstract contemporary vessel

Mexican ceramicist Gustavo Perez abstract contemporary vessel

Gustavo Perez finely incised vase with abstract patterns

Gustavo Perez finely incised vase

Gustavo Perez contemporary bowl in black and white abstract patterns

Gustavo Perez contemporary stoneware bowl – 2010

Gustavo Perez ceramic vase in olive green and white slashes

Stoneware Vase – Gustav Perez   2010

Gustavo Perez stoneware vase

Gustavo Perez stoneware vase

Abstract ovoid Vase - Gustav Perez

Abstract black and white vase – Gustavo Perez

Gustavo Perez folded vase - 2005

Gustavo Perez folded vase 2005

Gustavo Perez Vase abstract vase in black and white

Abstract form vase -Gustavo Perez

Gustavo Perez asymmetrical vase

Gustavo Perez asymmetrical vase

Gustavo Perez contemporary ceramic sculptural vessel

Gustavo Perez contemporary sculptural vessel

Gustavo Pérez Vase Sculpture 2011

Gustavo Pérez Vase Sculpture 2011

Puerto-Vallarta gallery - Gustavo Perez

Puerto-Vallarta gallery – Gustavo Perez



Gustavo Perez Facebook Link





Creasing and Fluting pottery

Fluted flower pot


David Voorhees shows: How to crease a vase 2011.

Simon Leach – fluting a bowl


Green Fluted Bowl – Ian Drummond

Van Briggle fluted top mulberry and blue vase ( 1920’s )

Fluted Serving Bowl -pottery by kate

Celadon Blue Vases –  Barry Singleton


Camark ribbed and fluted vase.

ZSOLNAY Pecs. Rare Fluted EOSIN Vase

ZSOLNAY.Pecs..Rare Fluted EOSIN Vase Flowing Art Deco Design

Woburn Pottery

Art Deco BELGIUM Vintage Vase

Belgium Art Deco Vintage Vase




Vase 1930-40s Brush McCoy



Ceramic Maskwoman aka Peggy Bjerkan

Ceramic masks - Peggy Bjerkan ‘Under The Apple Tree’



Ceramic masks - Peggy Bjerkan - female mask of woman with a partial wing ‘Waiting In The Wings’



Art of Masks – Peggy Bjerkan


Masks have always possessed a certain air of mystery that has fascinated people for centuries. Legend tells us that at ancient Greek festivals in honor of Dionysus, the god of theater, actors began wearing very large masks. Because the structures used to present the plays were so colossal, these masks bore exaggerated expressions so the actors could convey to their immense 25,000+ audiences different emotions and reactions. When the Romans conquered Greece, they adopted the Grecian love of theater, and the use of masks in celebrations and plays passed through Europe by way of their massive empire.

Currently based in St. Helena  California, Peggy Bjerkan is primarily involved in the creation of unique ceramic masks that have an amusing quality about them as some  reflect popular  English idioms, catch phrases and proverbs . Some allude to more serious human conditions, but in their quirky animated style, they always seem to convey a striking presence and flair.

How Peggy describes her mask journey…

“I started making masks a few years ago as a result of my fascination with masks as ritual objects. This interest continues to grow and evolve as time goes on. The masks have become (for me) a commentary on life and the human condition. Although my masks are not wearable and, therefore, not used in traditional ways, I hope that they have the power to communicate ideas. I especially like to emphasize humor, wit and irony in my pieces and I hope that the masks are able to speak for themselves.”

“Some of you may wonder why I’m putting so much energy into the making of masks. Well, after years of being a maker of many different things, I finally began to dabble in masks (inspired by my own collection of masks from around the world). It dawned on me, after the first few that I made, that a path was opening up before me. I knew that I didn’t want to copy foreign masks or even to borrow ideas from them. I did want to be a part of the mask tradition. Thus began my journey. Very early on, around 1998, I decided that I would make “American” masks with contemporary ideas – my contribution to the tradition. After a while, the masks became more and more personal which seemed a natural progression. I continue making them with the hope that some of the ideas I present are universal.”

Peggy Bjerkman Rose-Colored-Glasses Ceramic Mask ‘Rose Coloured Glasses’


“I use several methods to form my masks. My favorite is to sculpt over a hump (a built-up surface). I form each piece with earthenware clay and then carve it back to bring out and define the details. Sometimes I will make a mold of one of these pieces. I use the molds as starting points for new masks: either pressing soft clay into them or slipcasting. Each mask is then altered and further sculpted to become a unique piece. When the masks are completely dry – from 2 days to 3 weeks – I paint them with underglazes and fire them to cone 04. Some pieces are painted with other glazes and fired again. When all firing is completed, I use colored gessoes, acrylics and Prismacolor pencils to define the features. One to four coats of varnish are then applied. At this point, many pieces get some type of “mixed media” addition: I like to make “hair” out of my own hand-painted silk cords or bits of wire or leather. Lately, I’ve been having fun using driftwood and river stones and I sculpt many small clay parts to help each mask tell its story.”


Peggy Bjerkman Ceramic Mask See-No-Evil ‘See No Evil’



Peggy-Bjerkan ceramic mask

‘Left Behind’



the Dreamaer ceramic mask‘The Dreamer’

Peggy Bjerkman Ceramic Mask  ‘On a wing and a prayer’

This mask came to be as a result of my uncertainties about changes in my processes and materials. While at the Institute of Ceramic Studies in Shigaraki, Japan in 2003, I was truly at the mercy of the Fire Gods! Besides using a much higher firing clay, I also had to adjust my glazes to fit. As a result, I spent a lot of time holding my breath and crossing my fingers. It was during this period that “A Wing and a Prayer” was born. From Peggy’s blog..






Peggy Bjerkman Ceramic Mask A-Change-of-Heart

‘A Change Of Heart’

Extract from Peggy’s 0…..I was going to post another altered photo today but I had a “change of heart” and decided to let this mask out for an airing ( see above ). I created this piece a couple years ago – and I still have it. For some reason, the times I’ve shown the mask, it has gotten very little attention (even with the moving, changeable doors which everyone usually loves). Perhaps the message is just too obvious! Anyway, until she connects with the right home, I get to enjoy her in mine…..



‘Mind Games 2’



Midas Touch Mask ‘Midas Touch’




‘Secret Inside 2’



From-the-Ground-Up Ceramic Mask‘ From The Ground Up’



‘Earthbound 2’



‘All the King’s Horses’



‘Rising above it all’



‘Curiouser and Curiouser—this one’




‘Off On a Tangent’



‘Bird in the hand 2’



Peggy Bjerkan photo

Peggy Bjerkan

venice maskCarnevale di Venezia 2011

Venetian mask carnivale