Grant Gibson's Bornholm Blog
For the unacquainted Bornholm is a Danish island in the Baltic Sea with a population of around 43, 000. A half hour plane ride from Copenhagen, fishing was once its main industry but this has now been superseded (in the summer months at least) by tourism. Aside from this, the island is also notable for its rich history of crafts – predominantly ceramics and glass – that will be celebrated in 'Land Marks', 13 May - 18 July at Flow Gallery, London. The following is a photo-diary of my two days on this quite charming island.
First stop and, having met my guide Anne-Marie Overby of the Arts & Crafts Association Bornholm, we visit Grønbechs Gård in Hasle. Run by Tom Asmussen, it’s the main exhibition space for art and craft on an island that’s positively littered with mini-galleries and studio shops.
When I walked in the ACAB was setting up an exhibition of its members work. Undoubtedly eclectic, by the same token there was no doubt that the island itself was the inspiration for much of the work on display.
One of the first exhibits I encountered was this hunting knife made by Henrik Vensild. In fact there were a number of knives on display – not something you’re likely to see at Collect I guess.
Next stop (and with the sun beginning to set) was the studio of the young maker Charlotte Thorup in Svaneke. She makes vessels and wall pieces, using intriguing repeated patterns and a salt glazing process.
While she was explaining her work we were also being filmed by a camera crew from the local TV station. The London exhibition is undoubtedly big news for the island and the makers involved.
Beginning to get late now. This is the view from my hotel room. Not bad eh?
Next morning and we visit the (rather impressive) Glass and Ceramics School of Bornholm. This is the head of the ceramics department John Gibson incidentally. Interestingly increasing numbers of students from the school are electing to remain on the island when they’ve finished their education, ensuring ACAB has an annual infusion of fresh blood.
Some students from the school busy at work.
Inside the studio of glass artist Else Leth Nissen, a maker who was brought up on the island and whose work is influenced by the forest that surrounds her farm house. Working alone, she blows and moulds her glass that is subsequently sand blasted or screen printed with animals or leaves.
Next we drove to Gudhjem and the studio of wood turner Hans-Henning Pedersen who creates these quite exquisite (and often enormous) bowls from locally sourced beech and ash. His work will be at Collect and is well worth checking out. He also makes a mean lunch but that’s by the by.
Now we’re in the garden of ceramicist Anne Stougaard, who like Charlotte Thorup, also uses a salt glazing process. Like other artists on the island, her work is very obviously inspired by nature. Here she’s showing me her outdoor kiln.
Oh and this is one of her dogs.
In the evening a bunch of the artists going to Flow got together and very kindly invited me to a dinner held at the Baltic Sea Glass studio, which is run by Maibritt Jönsson and her partner Pete Hunner. On the menu was deer, cooked in one of the couple’s glass ovens.
Day three now and this is the studio of Eva Brandt. Inspired by the traditional Indian techniques she learned in New Mexico, her pots are wonderfully tactile. Once again she’ll be at Flow.
Last but – by no means least – we paid a visit to the furniture maker Tyge Axel Holm who has created a table for the up-coming environmental conference in Copenhagen, a model of which is on the table between us.