For those of you being shocked by the amount of text on this page and do not wish to spend more than 20 seconds of your life reading about the story of Bauer ceramics (No offense taken, I totally understand), here is the short version:
I have created all my life- in different ways, with different mediums, from the very moment in my childhood when I could start to think. My first encounter with ceramics was in an art class when I was 9, and it made a huge impression on me. After that I lost touch with the craft for many years, and it wasn’t until 2019 that I picked it up again. I took a ceramics class that the pandemic shut down after just two occasions, but I loved it. Something inside me told me to not let this go, but to go all in. So I did. I bought myself a kiln and a wheel, I threw pots in my single room apartment and I transported the fragile pieces 50 kilometers to fire them. After some time of that combined with working in retail, I decided to get a studio, quit my job, and allow myself this opportunity. And here we are!
For the rest of you, here’s the long version.
Like most other creatives and artists I know of, my urge to create is something I’ve carried with me throughout all my life. In different stages of my childhood it’s taken many different expressions, ranging from sewing, writing illustrated books, scrapbooking and making jewelry out of polymer clay.
My first encounter with ceramic clay however was at an age of 9. I was in a mixed arts class taking place once a week after school hours. We got to work with many different mediums, but out of all of them, clay was the one that really made an impression on me. The feeling of shaping something so freely, and the quite intimidating and tricky process of glazing and firing to produce things that felt so real left me intrigued, wanting to try more. I both loved and was frustrated with the challenge of getting something both look good and be usable. It is after all a process where everything at any time could go wrong in the blink of an eye.
Some years later I took my first class with only ceramics. I still remember some of the items I made, wonkily shaped and in a range of very bold colors to put it nicely. If you want a mental image, you could imagine the things I make now, but the exact opposite in every single design choice. I loved every minute of the time spent in the ceramic studio, but at the end of those class hours I put ceramics to the side for many years.
The pandemic, yes you know which one, changed a lot for most people. As did it for me. I had worked in retail for a couple of years when the virus hit, and with the lack of customers in stores there was no need for as much staff as usual. That meant a period of being laid off from work, which in turn meant that I was left with a lot of time to spend on the internet, and on activities otherwise downgraded in priority. It sparked that curiosity for ceramics within me again. During those years my interest for design had only grown and it felt like a sign, that now was the time to try again. I do admit that I could still feel that slight bit of intimidation of the craft that I felt as a kid when I signed up for an evening course. But of course, the curiosity took over completely and the course started in the fall of 2020.
I’d spent countless hours on the internet, watching videos on ceramics, sucking up information like a sponge before attending the first occasion. My main focus would be throwing on the wheel. Despite how well prepared I felt, the lump of clay in front of me just did not behave the way I asked it to. Once again, that fascination for the craft arose and a seed of persistence was planted, and after the first throwing session I ever had I started looking to buy a wheel. In just a matter of days I got hold of one used trusty beauty from the 80’s that with some love and care ran as smooth as ever.
Sadly, I only came to glaze one ugly wheel-thrown bowl and four slab built plates before the pandemic had other plans for the world and me, and the course had to come to an early end. Feeling I had just rediscovered something deeply important and true to me, I felt upset and disappointed. I could not not do this now that I’d finally found my way back to it again. I felt like I knew enough of how much it meant to me to proceed to what some people would call madness. I call it a gut feeling. I started planning, I bought a Rohde ceramic kiln, and set I up my own studio at home. I wasn’t at a place in life where I could make a real, professional studio happen, so I had to make do with what I actually had access to. That meant placing the kiln in a shed at my dad’s property, a 40 minute drive away from my small 34 square-meter single room apartment where I set up the wheel for throwing.
It was not ideal to say the least, but it was so much better than nothing. Having never touched nor operated a kiln in my entire life, you could imagine my nervousness the first time starting it- so much could go wrong! And it turned out to be a bumpy road to become friends with my dear kiln. We’re on much better terms now, but we still have a lot to learn together.
This went on for some time, packing and transporting extremely fragile greenware (unfired, shaped and dried mud basically) to the kiln, starting a first firing, driving back two days later to glaze, starting the glaze firing, and after two days going back again to transport the fired goods again. Yes- laborious and tedious. And doing all of this whilst working 30 hours a week, I grew tired of it and decided it was time for a change. I first started working less, and then quit my job completely. And that’s where I am now, for the first time in my life pursuing something that feels surreal and at the same time like the most important thing in the world to me.
If you made it this far- congratulations, I’m proud of you. I’m beyond excited about what the future holds for me and this little gemstone of mine that is Bauer Ceramics, and I’m hoping you also want to join me on this journey.