‘Velvet’ 2006 by  Mårten Medbo; Photograph: Mårten Medbo, 2006

Grant Gibson's Bornholm Blog

Published 26 Mar 2009 by Grant Gibson

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 A half hour plane ride from Copenhagen, fishing was once its main industry but this has now been superseded (in the summer months at least) by tourism.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.

  • Grønbechs Gård in Hasle

    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.

  • ACAB exhibition

    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.

  • Hunting knife by Henrik Vensild

    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.

  • Charlotte Thorup's studio

    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.

  • TV crew

    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.

  • View from hotel room

    Beginning to get late now. This is the view from my hotel room. Not bad eh?

  • John Gibson

    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.

  • Students at work

    Some students from the school busy at work.

  • Else Leth Nissen

    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.

  • Hans-Henning Pedersen at work

    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.

  • Anne Stougaard and her outdoor kiln

    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.

  • A dog

    Oh and this is one of her dogs.

  • Dinner at the Baltic Sea Glass studio

    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.

  • Eva Brandt

    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.

  • Tyge Axel Holm

    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.