Empowering Ceramics Asa Hellman, a Nordic Colourist

By Isohauta, Teija | Ceramics Art & Perception, September 2012 | Go to article overview

Empowering Ceramics Asa Hellman, a Nordic Colourist


Isohauta, Teija, Ceramics Art & Perception


EXPRESSIONISM WITHOUT DOUBT--A STRONG PRESENCE--abundance without superfluous gestures and at the same time incorporating elements from art history.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

These are the first impressions of my visit to Asa Hellman's exhibition in the Salo art museum in late 2011. A similar feeling was conveyed during our meeting at her garden studio in Porvoo, where she has worked since 1993. Porvoo is a picturesque medieval town on the southern coast of Finland.

Asa Hellman's book Ceramic Art in Finland, 2004 is a salient reference work on Finnish ceramists. She is a member of the Helsinki Fat Clay group and an active participant in the Association of Finnish Designers Ornamo.

ROOTS

Hellman's parents, both artists, have had a significant bearing on her activities: "All through my childhood summers I was dragged into museums. I was barely three when we camped in Spain for the first time. The Louvre, the Prado and the Uffizi all gradually became familiar. Our family spent most summers in the Mediterranean region. It was boring for me as a teenager to spend hours in museums but now I love them and visit them whenever possible."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

All this had bearance on selecting a profession, but initially inversely. Hellman began her art studies by reading archaeology as well as art history at the Helsinki University. Simultaneously she attended evening classes at the University of Art and Design. Her plastic arts teacher, sculptor Heikki Haivaoja, known in Finland for his many public statues and medals, recognised Hellman's ability and encouraged her to apply for a place at the department of ceramics.

"Being such a free spirit, I sometimes found conforming to the department of ceramics difficult. During the second year, three of us set up a workshop in a basement in Helsinki and this competed with our studies.

In the workshop one could quietly practice throwing on an old kick wheel--the clay was totally absorbing. We were there all the time, we even slept there attending our kilns, using cheap night electricity rates."

In the 1970s, applied arts and ceramics were both powerfully on the ascent in Finland. "It was trendy to use rough clay bodies with added grog. Everything thrown, brown and rustic, sold as hotcakes. The style was so different from that of the Arabia factory-made products that it seemed to people like coming from a different world. At that time private sales of ceramics were unusual. A sale at the studio drew lines of customers and everything sold."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The education at the University of Art and Design was quite different from studying at the Royal College of Art in London, which Hellman, with the intention of broadening her prowess, entered in 1978 with a grant from the British Council. "The Royal College of Art laboratories offered every possible type of technology; industrially produced colour stains and small test kilns, gas kilns and so forth. My teacher in Finland, internationally celebrated ceramist Kyllikki Salmenhaara (1915-1981), had emphasised that all colour pigments had to be made by hand using traditional methods, only metal oxides were allowed. When I later returned and began to create brightly coloured ceramics; pink, lilac and orange, I felt that all doors stood open for me."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Between 1973 and 1993 Hellman was part of the Pot Viapori group on Suomenlinna, an island with historical significance close to Helsinki. There she also produced functional ware and frequently participated in exhibitions in Finland and abroad. At the same time she wrote art reviews for Hufvudstadsbladet, the Swedish language daily in Helsinki but, increasingly, she devoted her time to her own art.

Hellman's early exhibitions already imbued Finnish ceramics with an exotic addition. Her debut took place in 1973 in the lower level of Taidesalonki (a well-known Helsinki exhibition venue) showing abstract sculptures. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Empowering Ceramics Asa Hellman, a Nordic Colourist
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.