Interview with Susanne Bartram

Susanne Bartram
Staatlich geprüfte Keramikgestalterin / Keramikermeisterin
Pützgasse 17
56154 Boppard
06742 8045656

Why did you decide on this profession and what has your career been like?
After school, I actually didn’t have any idea which profession I wanted to work in. However, I had always had a strong affinity with arts and crafts so I decided to go to the Fachoberschule für Gestaltung (“College for Design”) in Cologne.
The training included a six-month internship in the design field and I did that at a pottery in Siegburg.
I liked the work immediately, although I had some difficulties with throwing on the potter’s wheel at first.
The training was great. After I had finished all the required work, I was allowed to put my own ideas into practice and to try out different things.

What kind of ceramics do you mainly produce, what are your main activities?
I have two main activities. On the one hand thinly thrown tableware and on the other hand I build animal figures.
Making tableware has always been very important to me. My vessels tend to be plain. But most of all I like the glazes. They form the bridge between pure functionality to aesthetics.
I started modelling only much later. I particularly enjoy giving my animal figures human characteristics, as in fables for example. They don’t need words.

You work with ceramic bodies from Goerg & Schneider. Which bodies do you use?
For tableware I use body 241 and 254. And for the animal figures I use body 468.

What do you especially like about these bodies?
Clay 241 can be thrown out very thin, it has a good stability both on the wheel and when being fired at high temperatures. I fire at 1280°C. I prefer using 254 for flatware, like plates and platters, because the 25% chamotte content in this body keeps them nice and straight. My glazes form a very nice crackle pattern on both bodies.
Body 468, as a building body with a high chamotte content, meets my requirements in that way that it is very well suited for large works. It is stable during building and firing. Nevertheless, the chamotte is so well-balanced that fine details can be worked out very well. I still fairly work on my figures in the dry state and I finally paint them with porcelain engobes. This all works very well with no loss.What are the features of your ceramics?
My tableware has on the one hand the clear, developed forms and on the other hand the coloured craquelling glazes. I usually melt some glass into the middle of the bowls - a real eye-catcher.
My figures appeal through their serene sovereignty. The coloured surface design looks as though it has been painted in watercolours and this emphasizes their lightness.

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What are your absolute favourites?
My fishes. The way they look makes most people smile.

Where can one buy your ceramics?
At my place in Boppard, it’s a workshop and shop together. My opening hours are Wednesday - Friday from 10 am - 5 pm, and by appointment. The Maria Laach book and art shop has a small range of my work. And I display at some markets in the area.


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