Ceramic is a cultural artefact

While working with clay, we experience sensuality. It makes us happy to work with our hands. Ceramic plays a prominent role in art and culture and characterizes the region around Höhr-Grenzhausen in the Westerwald, where Goerg & Schneider is located. The 21th century will be a century of handicraft which will give a new boost to work and creativity with clay.

With Nele van Wieringen

What do you associate with clay and ceramic?

Ceramic material is very deeply rooted in the cultural history. Clay is a simple but exciting product. It is found in the earth underneath our feet and when we extract it, we can use it to form something. At the moment ceramic is undergoing a small renaissance in art. In times of digitalization we have the desire to touch things and to work with our hands. This makes us happy. Personally, I am fascinated by the aesthetic and conceptual power of the ceramic colours. They offer a number of possibilities which you cannot be achieved with any other material

What significance does the ceramic have for the Kannenbäckerland and Höhr-Grenzhausen area?

The ceramic heyday around 1600, when Kannenbäckerland became known worldwide, was extremely important. The short period of the Jugendstil is considerably interesting for me. However, the companies’ histories are a crucial part of the history. The people of this region can be very proud of their cultural artefacts. This is really something special which we should not hide!  This year the pottery tradition of Westerwälder stoneware was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. This emphasises the importance of ceramic not only in the past but also for the future.

Talking about the future: Which topics are mentioned here in the context of ceramics?

A famous futurologist recently declared the 21. century the century of handicraft. Certainly, this also includes working and modelling with clay. As mentioned at the beginning, sensuality is again considered significant for human beings. Sustainability is also a major subject and plays an increasingly prominent role. The ceramic can take an important position. Clay remains relevant as a material for artists. For example, artist from this region interpret the famous “Salzbrand” in a new way. Of course, I follow this with great interest. In the meantime, ceramic material has become indispensable for technology.

In our permanent exhibition we want to highlight again the original material clay. Almost all objects in the ceramic museum have their origin in a Westerwälder quarry. In our NORBERT PRGENBURG exhibition we focus on the role of this material in contemporary art.



Following her apprenticeship in Amsterdam as well as her art- and graphic studies in The Hague and Florence, Nele van Wieringen attended a ceramic school in Italy. Since 2013 she has studied at the Institute of Ceramic and Glass Arts at the University of Koblenz. She is an artist and will complete her dissertation in ceramic glazes and the colour in ceramic soon. Since February 2018, Nele van Wieringen has been director of the Ceramic Museum Westerwald.


The museum presents exciting exhibitions about “The History and Modernity of Ceramic”. Further information and an overview of current topics, exhibitions and workshops are to be found at https://www.keramikmuseum.de