My ceramic objects are inspired by natural structures such as sand dunes, ice crystals, wood, rocks and leaves. These are structures that I find and see at home and whilst travelling. My objects have large increasingly convex surfaces, accentuated with small textured elements: highly structured and yet chaotic at the same time. The result is a balance between planning and chance, contained within a subtle framework that controls it. The balanced colors harmonize with the shape.

Ellen Rijsdorp (1962) lives in Delft, a city with a rich tradition in ceramics, not just Delft Blue! She spent 22 years living with her family in the Kruithuis, formerly a gunpowder depot built in 1660. Recently she moved closer to the old town and her workshop moved to Bacinol2, a centre for artists and small innovative companies.

A wheel-thrown shape provides the primary basis for my objects. After finishing ceramics school in Gouda (1985-1991) I began to develop my own personal shapes, textures and style. Development of style was not an essential element of my ceramics school education where it was more important to be able to produce specific shapes of good quality. However these technical skills have given me the opportunity to explore the limits of possibilities in clay. This has been my road to my language of shapes.

A wheel-thrown shape provides the primary basis for my objects. After finishing ceramics school in Gouda (1985-1991) I began to develop my own personal shapes, textures and style. Development of style was not an essential element of my ceramics school education where it was more important to be able to produce specific shapes of good quality. However these technical skills have given me the opportunity to explore the limits of possibilities in clay. This has been my road to my language of shapes.

After 12 years of intensive raku firing I developed serious health problems. This forced me to move to other firing techniques. After two years I decided to completely change direction. Ceasing to work with raku offered me new opportunities and I was free to make a new start!

I started research to reproduce the random pattern of the raku work in my new work. This resulted in stone ware objects painted with engobes. Initially I applied this on the old raku shapes to avoid a sudden change. However, this was not in harmony with the decoration. The shapes evolved into spheres.

The objects are made of double hauled spheres. The skin of the clay is painted with engobes (coloured clay). Turning the wheel, a pattern is made by applying a piece of metal. It ‘dances’ on the turning surface and leaves a pattern which has both a regular and random rhythm.  Objects are glazed and fired at 1220 0C. The chaotic pattern is framed and ruled by a subtle edge. The interior can be finished with bright gold, making the object appear to shine. The other end of the objects can be decorated with gold lustre.

The surfaces combine structure and coincidence. There is contrast between reflecting gold and mat structures.

education

1982 – 1983 Foundation diploma Academy of Arts, Kampen

1985 – 1991 KMBO School of Ceramics Gouda (now SBB)

1990 – 1991 Course in glazing Kerade, formerly known as Potterij  Delft

1998 – 2009 Various workshops

experience

1991 –1995 Porceleyne Fles Delft Blue porcelain, Delft, illustrate throwing

1994 – present Member Nederlandse Vakgroep van Keramisten (NVK),

1996 Various raku workshops Technical University Delft, Sports & Culture

1991 – 2002 Teacher Ceramics at Kerade, Delft Centre for ceramics

1994 – 2002 Teacher Ceramics at Klei en Kleur, Maassluis Centre for teaching various arts and crafts

2000 – 2004 Organization of  ‘Keramiek door Delft’, a ceramics event and tour through the historical centre of Delft

2002 – present Teacher ceramics Delft University of Technology, Sports&Culture

2006 – 2013 Teacher workshops wheel throwing at Keramikos, Haarlem

2007 Organizing committee Delft Ceramica 2007

2010 –2015 Teacher ceramics (wheel throwing) Ceramics School at SBB, Gouda

2007 – 2009 BisQceramics, together with Ingrid van Leeuwen, owner shop/ gallery in Kerkstraat Delft

1994 – present Member Nederlandse Vakgroep van Keramisten (NVK)

awards

Incentive prize Int. Ceramics Festival Gouda 1992

First prize Ceramics Market Dwingeloo 2000

First prize ceramics biennial Brasschaat 2004

Honourable mention Ceramics Market Dwingeloo 2005

Honourable mention Ceramics Market  Dwingeloo 2008

Third prize public Int. Ceramics Festival Gouda 2008

Honourable mention Ceramics Market Dwingeloo 2009

publication

The Ceramics Handbook Raku, John Mathieson, 2002

Keramiek, journal, August 2004

Klei, journal, article on decoration techniques, January 2006

Keramiek, journal, August 2007

De kunst van het decoreren, ritmische structuren, Mels Boom, 2009

Techniques using Slips, John Mathieson, 2010

Klei, Keramiekmagazine, article about ceramic studios, July – August 2016

Klei, Keramiekmagazine, Ellen Rijsdorp 25 jaar keramist, March – April 2017

de Kleine K, www.dekleinek.nl, Digital magazine, article and film (English) March 2017