Interview with Dorothee Wenz

Your works are stunningly beautiful, large and it is a pleasure to touch them. How did you get into this interesting technique?

Thank you very much for the nice compliment concerning my works.

Since my studies I have been working with stained bodies. In my childhood we often went to Bornholm in the summer and visited the local ceramists. Even then I kept the works of stained porcelain by Hans Munck Andersen as something special in my mind.

During my studies in Mainz I came again across works made of stained bodies and soon it was clear to me that this was the material I wanted to work with in all its colourful possibilities, in combination with freely built-up forms.


How long does it take on average to make a vessel and/or a figure?

Before I build up a vessel or figure, there are two quite extensive working steps in my technique. First, the staining and preparing of the bodies, then the structuring of the coloured bodies into blocks from which the pieces can be built. 

From staining to the final cutting, it takes 4-6 weeks. However, it is also possible that I have to work on some pieces for months.

Which step is the most difficult during the manufacturing process? Which tip would you give someone who wants to try this technique for the first time?

In my studio I offer courses at intervals and I show the participants the basics of my technique.

25 years of experience packed into one weekend course….

By the way, if you are interested in this technique you can first use the different coloured "bag clays", which can be bought in several colours instead of the self-stained bodies.


At what temperature and how often are the pieces fired?

My pieces are twice fired.

After biscuit firing, they are thoroughly polished and then again fired at about 1160 °C.

Finally they are ground and polished so that the surface feels both stony and incredibly soft (this is by far the most difficult, lengthy and strenuous work)


Which body or bodies do you use? Is there anything that needs special attention when selecting the bodies?

I always like to try out new bodies.

However, for most of my work I use the white stoneware clay 25/05. Various porcelains and body 1100 from Goerg & Schneider are also well suitable for staining. I also process the most different bodies in one piece. 

For me it is very important to experiment with the materials.

Your figural works are incredibly precise and have a certain wit and charm. They remind of mythical creatures, animals with human features, or human beings with animalistic features? It’s a world of its own which fascinates. Where do you get your ideas from? Where do you find inspiration?

Without a prefabricated sketch and only with a vague idea, my hybrid beings grow from the feet up and are suddenly there.

They usually come as couples or in smaller groups and are in dialogue with each other right from the beginning.

They are types which everyone knows, with special facial expressions and postures. The animal heads leave room (projection surface) for the fantasy of the beholder, everyone connects different experiences and meanings with them.


Is the project planned right from the beginning and drawn from all perspectives, or do you make changes during the production process?

The respective project is planned, but not thoroughly planned. The process of building, whether it be the vessels or the figures, is also for me a dialogue with the material, and I am also sometimes surprised about the result.


Where are your pieces to be seen? Where do you exhibit? Where do you sell them?

I sell my works in my studio, at exhibitions and selected fairs


For further information please visit:  or Instagram: dorothee.wenz