Alexandra Engelfriet was born in the Netherlands in 1959 and has received her training at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. She takes a special place in the ceramic field, as she has also been into fashion design, sculpture and land-art. It is only in recent years that she has become an artist working with clay, with a strong fascination and reference to nature.
Engelfriet says about her work:
“For more then twelve years I have been working with the kneadable materials of the earth: mud, clay, sand, earth and snow. Huge spaces I have filled and formed with these materials, working with my body as an instrument. I have worked out in nature, using the materials and the natural forces I found on the spot.
This rich physical and spiritual experience with raw matter I now bring to the medium of ceramics. Through the process of firing, my work has become lasting. The mouldable hardens into stone in which the act, movement, remains visible. In the past I used walls and floors as a base to sculpt material on, now I use the walls of pots, as the base to mould clay on.
The essence of my work still is movement, moving matter, structures and rich textures emerging out of the process of kneading and moulding clay. They either follow the shape of the pot as a coat, or the shape of the pot becomes hidden under the sculpturally formed matter, that gives it a new shape. While kneading new possibilities emerge.
Sometimes it seems the movement in the clay springs from the empty inside of the pot, while at the same time materialising the invisible movements in the space surrounding it.
In a world that becomes more and more virtual, to be able to feel and experience the touch and sensuality of the body through the art of clay, is what I aim for.”