Christine Roland

— Fantastically irregular ceramics

Gray, before the glaze

Today I visited Christine Roland's studio. I've been obsessed with her ceramics for a couple years since I spotted a cup she made.

At the time, my husband and I were celebrating our anniversary at a restaurant on the other side of town. We were exploring the area before our reservation when we came across a tea shop.

The pottery in the tea shop caught my eye and we stepped in. On display was a thick white cup. Chunky in shape, the cup was glazed inside and on the sides. The bottom, however, remained unglazed.

When the shop lady placed it in my hands, my palms caved to the weight. I remember thinking 'this feels primordial'. The variance in surface was also startling. Unglazed clay looks smooth but it's chalky dry, a contrast to the smooth wet feeling of gloss.

My husband wanted me to choose a cup. He wanted to go all out for our anniversary. Although I wanted Christine's cup, I felt more comfortable choosing lower priced pottery. I reasoned that Christine's cup was too luxurious for day-to-day. I considered it a piece of art.

I ended up with a wheel thrown cup made in Japan. Although I enjoy the cup, I regret not taking the 'primordial' cup. The cup I have isn't as special. While the edges have slight artisanal imperfection, it's not intentionally imperfect. To capture a celebratory day, an anniversary, I should have commemorated it with something original. Whenever I see my wheel thrown cup, I'm reminded of Christine's.

Metallic sheen on uneven surfaces

Our current apartment is in a neighborhood where Christine's shop/studio is located. She works at her own space elsewhere but the window at the nearby studio displays her works. I pass by frequently and often peer in.

Christine invited me to visit and today I got the chance to browse and touch everything inside. It was exhilarating to feel the textures, examine the shapes, sense the weight. Some pieces were lighter than expected, some heavier. I couldn't tell by looking.

Dinner set

Sharing her works, Christine mentioned how she draws from her Nordic background and the Vikings. Growing up in Denmark, she remembers cold grey skies. I admire the cold aesthetic that shows up in her works. The black pottery looks slightly metallic, like ironwork. Some of the shapes even resemble iconography related to the Vikings.

Christine mentions how the black glaze reminds her of cast iron. I hadn't realized, but I also find myself fascinated by cast iron while cooking. Sometimes it's matte, sometimes glossy, often fluctuating in various states in between. It resembles the soft sheen found on her black ceramics.

A slab of wonder and a birdhouse

I felt revitalized after my visit. By being around objects, ideas, and creations I'm in tune with, perhaps I receive a sense of well-being.



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