I met Kari 13 years ago for the first time. And today I met her again. Anew. With new eyes. Today I met her for the first time as an artist. As a ceramics artist. How does one recognize an artist? You might wonder. We could state that an artist is someone who translates their soul into something perceivable by others. An artist is someone whose true nature seeks a way to express itself in every little thing they do. Just like water will seek its way through every little hole. Without discrimination. Unpretentiously. This definition most definitely applies to Kari. You see, if you met Kari in person, I bet that you would fall in love immediately with her like I did back then. And like I did today again. Kari possesses the rare enchantment of childlike unpretentiousness. Innocence if you will. And I am talking here about innocence in the most positive sense of the word.
Let me illustrate this with the innocence of a flower, to clarify what I mean. A flower has the blissful privilege to be unaware of itself. A flower only knows one thing; how to be a flower. And that is the only thing it needs to know. Radiating a rare mixture of modesty and immense self-confidence at the same time. And this is how I see Kari. A true artist standing undisturbed in her timeless majesty. The magic of innocence lies in great part in its inimitableness. Much like true beauty, innocence too is something you cannot acquire. Either you have it or don’t. And if you first have it and then loose it, you will never regain it. That’s what makes innocence one of the most precious and desirable things in the world. And even the sun and the moon will bow before it.
Knowing that the nature of Norway - where Kari was born in 1965 - is an immense source of inspiration for Kari I wandered through her studio trying to find signs of it. I wondered whether the blue and green hued ceramic dinner plates and handcrafted bowls were symbols of deep and still forest ponds that are untouched by the filthy little fingers of humans. Somewhere high high up on a mountain. Living their own mysterious and unspoiled eternity there. Not aware of Trump nor Corona. Or of the vital importance of Nutella for the economy of Amsterdam for that matter. Resided by enigmatic water spirits called ‘nøkken'. Or might all these objects that looked so honest, decent, unpretentious and pristine be a translation of Kari’s mother’s nature? Something that Kari describes as even more innocent and benevolent than her own. Can you believe it?!!? Two of the most pure people in the world born in the same family??
I sat down on a chair and waited for Kari to come and sit with me. She had invited me to her atelier with a special intention. This much I knew. And I was dyyeeeiinggg to know what it was all about. A moment later - my mouth full of chocolate chip cookies and tea - I learned that Kari was hiring me as a writer of a new special blog on her website!!!! O happy day!!!! The design of the blog is as follows: I am going to be Kari’s apprentice learning the art and antics of pottery baking!! She’s going to hold my shaky clumsy beginners hand and is going to walk me through the whole captivating process.
Baby step by baby step.
From A to Z.
Till my skin of novice will be shed.
Baking pottery all day long. Not gingerbread.
And along the way I am going to translate my personal experiences into a narrative called “The Path of the Pottery Pupil". My - from now on at least once a week clayey- hands fully free to textually express what my exclusive eye of beholder explores. Unveiling the scrumptious secrets behind the scenes of Kari’s studio. Documenting the intricacy and allure of this dyeing craftsmanship that needs to be kept alive and kicking. Right as rain, fit as a fiddle. Not caring how much Kari is going to blush due to my heartfelt description of her as a person and artist. Which she will and has done already. Blushing that is. Because that’s Kari. And it makes sense since studies have shown blushing is an indicator of sincerity. Anyways, I can’t wait to start my odyssey as her pottery pupil, as her stoneware student. Sailing the seven seas of handmade ceramics.