Daniel Gillberg | Episode 292
Daniel Gillberg is a Swedish maker situated in the Oslo area in Norway. By making playful functional pots for every day use, he seeks to promote the values and the use of hand made. His work mainly involve dark firing earthenware and slip, decorated with various decals, paper resists and luster.
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You do your pottery on top of a fulltime job. Where do you get that inspiration to keep doing your pottery even after a long day at work?
I think I snatch it up during the day while I’m out and about hearing people, watching people… I just keep finding it around me without even knowing it. I’ll scraffito a pattern and then a few weeks later it’ll find a shirt with a similar pattern. I had somehow picked it up without somehow even thinking about it. I think that it is a constant flow that goes on. I just keep looking at things I suppose… lots of looking and listening.
For me I think it is about the process- trying out things, altering, changing things… Sometimes it takes many cups to come up with a good shape. I think that process is very rewarding to me. I make one cup and then I think I should make it a bit more narrow but then it should be a bit more rounded at the bottom: it should sort of lift from the table. And then I do the next one and the next one… I think that process of ending up with something, more or less, feeling whole and complete is very fulfilling. So it’s that process of making again and again and again is very rewarding.
What’s a typical studio day like for you?
Well… I wake up, I grab my biggest cup of coffee, and, because I don’t have any water in the studio, I bring in twenty liter bucket of water, turn on the radio, and then I start making. Then I’ll be throwing on the wheel until lunch or sometimes a full day, then it’ll be turning and trimming… It is just the cycle that I do.
What is a studio tool that you just can’t live without?
That would be my wooden rib. It is so good because it floats on the dirty water so you can always find it. It has soft edges that I really like to cut into the clay and you can make nice soft spirals and patterns. But you can also cut things off to lift the bottom. It is a good one; multi-purpose, floating device that can be used for many things.
What role does the artist have in society today?
I think that the artist has a very important role, actually. A crucial role. Speaking for themselves or other groups or for specific phenomena because most artists are quite reflectant. I think it is a very important voice that can be used as a compass in a way.
How has social media made the world smaller for you?
I now know other potters both all over Europe, in the other Scandinavian countries that I just didn’t know before. One lives just one hour drive from here across the Swedish border. I know potters in Australia and the States and it’s just this one big community. I don’t really feel that there is any distance. Like when I go on Periscope and people show up and you discuss things and it’s just like they are in the next room. It is really just amazing- networks and connections and community, really.
If you could add a magical power to your work with clay, what magical power would you add?
Well… Maybe super speed. Not rewind but the opposite like fast forward. So when you have an idea the zzvamm! and there it is. and then make another one. and another one. and another one.