European Ceramic Context 2014

Master Class

Venue: Klinkerskoven

Date:  15 - 19 september 2014


Materiality - Body as a tool – Ceramic heritage as matter

Instructor: Alexandra Engelfriet NL

Course description: An abandoned tile-factory in Hasle on the isle of Bornholm will be the site of the Masterclass Materiality – Body as Tool – Ceramic Heritage as Matter. Large amounts of clay deposits, developed through specific geological processes, were at the base of a once flourishing ceramic industry. The remnants of the human activity of clay-winning and brick-making have a strong power and beauty.

Awareness of clay both as a natural material, which is animated by all kinds of forces, and as the raw substance for the ceramic industry will be at the heart of the processes one will engage in during the workshop. Direct involvement with a large amount of raw clay will take one out of an object directed way of thinking and invite one to engage with place. Without preconceived ideas about the result the physical, performative aspect of working with clay will be emphasized and new possibilities for working with clay will emerge.

About the instructor: Alexandra Engelfriet has worked for more than twelve years with materials from the earth that can be kneaded and shaped including silt, clay, sand, loam, earth and snow.

Alexandra works on a large scale, creating monumental environment-based works. She also produces smaller wood fired works for exhibition that typically reflect the flows, folds and ripples of the raw earthen materials that she manipulates for her larger works.


Location and background: Historically, Bornholm has been the Danish center of ceramics for centuries. In the 18th century many ceramic factories came to existence on Bornholm due to the abundant supply of natural resources for ceramic production. Ceramic products, like utility ware and high-fired tiles for interior and exterior use, were exported in large quantities, as well as raw materials clay and grog.

This master class will take place at the deserted grounds of Hasle Tile Factory. The class will be centered around the left over piles of local clay, situated next to the two beautiful dilapidated drying barns that were once used for drying tiles.

The tile factory was originally located in Hasle because there was coal in the ground. Coal mining at Hasle began in 1843. In times of war and crisis, the demand for Hasle coal increased. Complications forced the mining industry to dig very deep into the subsoil, which subsequently opened up to thick and rich layers of clay.

It is a very special experience to walk on tile-factory grounds. The site and the landscape surrounding it, now appears as like a gigantic monument to Bornholm's leading industrial company for a whole century. The silence has taken over, among the big buildings that once were filled with noisy business. Also, the surrounding landscape offers access to Smaragdsøen, a clay pit, which had to be abandoned due to water intrusion, as well as the abandoned clay pit at Sorthat. 


Practical matters:

Venue: Klinkerskoven, Hasle

Cost: 450 Euro. This includes tuition and basic materials.
Ekstra costs for additional materials may occur.  

Transport, Housing and meals are not included. 

Suggested housing: Hasle Camping 

Signing up: This master class is open to all professionals and students working in ceramics, performance and other mediums.
Max 10 participants.