- Art & Design
This Danish artist marks out her territory in modern ceramic design. A former architect and graphic designer turned artist, Malene Knudsen devotes her time to the creation of organically inspired ceramics: rough, yet soft.
Malene Knudsen is a Danish artist, living and working in Copenhagen. She has a formal background in architecture thanks to her education at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and has previously worked in the field of design and graphic design. In 2018 she started working with ceramics and in 2020 she founded her studio. Her latest collection in handmade ceramics consists of sixteen exclusive vases with sophisticated details, different from each other and designed as sculptural works of art or for minimal bouquets. Together with you, we get to know the talented designer better, including what her biggest dreams and inspirations are. What inspires you to design these beautiful ceramics?
‘I find inspiration in unique and organic shapes where each object has its own identity characteristic. For me, beauty is most interesting when it comes in the purest and most natural form as in nature. It is beautiful and forever changing, every part and everyone is unique. It is a great treasure trove and archive of materials. I am particularly interested in surfaces and textures and how light can change the expression of what is perceived.’
What are the advantages of using clay as a material?
‘Clay is a natural material. It comes from the ground and is found in infinite quantities. It is easily accessible and doesn't cost much either. It allows me to make sustainable art using green energy. The longevity of the material creates a unique feature for the artistic story. It gives me endless possibilities to create three-dimensional pieces with relatively few tools.’
‘My art strives for form and hopes for beauty’
What is the relationship between function and form in your organic pieces?
‘I dreamed of making vases in clay, so that became my starting point when I created my first works. All I designed were vases, although I never thought of combining them with flowers or other decorations. It is undoubtedly design that drives me. My art strives for form and hopes for beauty. The function is a secondary element. That is just the way I think. I am very visually oriented but quite minimalist and there is no room for many additions, which puts high demands on the individual object. I value objects that are beautiful in themselves and where their value increases when they have a function.’
What do you like most about the creative process?
‘That it is so unpredictable. You never know what you will end up making or how long it will take. In the creative process there is room for everything and you discover that things don't have to be perfect to be beautiful. It can be difficult to predict a rough sketch, although it is a natural part of my process to visualise my thoughts and ideas on paper, which helps me to quickly understand the proportions and create my works to scale. When I get clay in my hands and start refining an expression, the magic happens.’ How do you see your work evolving?
‘I love working with clay, but one day it might be exciting to challenge the form of expression and work with a designer, who has competencies in another main material like glass, precious metals or natural stone.’
What is your biggest dream?
‘It wasn't so long ago that I dreamed of being able to create my own creative way of life. I still dream of it, even though it has become reality. I realise that slowly I may have to start dreaming bigger, but right now I am grateful for every day that I step into my studio and do what makes me happy.’ If you want to learn more about Malene Knudsen, be sure to read our full article in Imagicasa Summer 2021.
Photography by Stine Christiansen