I am probably not a typical craftsman. I loved going to school and it came easy to me, took high school and continued with a degree in business studies at an English university. Worked with administration, law and language, was super user for my colleagues on the PC. But I almost fell off my chair with fatigue even before lunchtime. The sedentary office life in front of a computer screen just did not work for me.
I had to do something productive. At school I always threw myself at the clay at every opportunity and now I started to look up different courses held by skilled people within the fields of sculpture, ceramics, drawing etc. One day I heard by chance about Technical College and the pottery course. I did not believe my own ears – you could go to clay school full time? I flew to the phone and called for an application form. Three long weeks later I started at pottery class. I pinched myself daily in the arm – it was the most amazing experience. When the year was over, I got an internship in the studio of one of my teachers at college, who in turn appreciated some of the unusual skills I could contribute with. After nine months’ studio practice, and based on my many years of playing and experimenting with the clay, I had developed my idiom and skills so much that I could start my own independent work. I sold my first piece of pottery 32 years after I had first shaped a lump of clay. Just over three years ago I established my own studio shop in Jægersborggade alongside many likeminded fellows.
I think that there are many people who like me are not designed to sit in front of a computer, but the development of our society is rocketing in that direction. Arts and Crafts Schools started off as schools for arts and crafts, then they became design schools and now universities of design with high school exams as the qualifying basis. Farther and farther away from the craft. The Potter’s School and several other craft schools have been closed recently. The vision must be that Danes are to sit behind computer screens with huge heads and small thin arms and design in virtual materials – and then some robots or people in distant countries to low wages will produce our brilliant ideas.
It is not healthy for us and we seem to forget that much of the world-renowned Danish design stem from the craftsmanship and the understanding of the material and texture this gives. And there is still demand for the genuine and unique products. I am often asked if I ought not have my work manufactured abroad. I can not see that happening. It is a conscious choice that I craft my own work – I like to use my head AND hands!