Gunilla Maria Åkesson 1963° is living in the south of Sweden and graduated from the National College of Art & Design in Bergen, Norway in 1992. She has worked with unique items for private and public spaces and exhibited in Scandinavia and internationally since then.
Gunilla was one of this years finalists of the prestigious Loewe Craft Prize Award 2018.
Gunilla about her work:
The classical cylinder shaped vessel has always existed in human history.
It has become an archetypal memory in our minds - we all know it very well and recognize it. Therefore, it has become a shape that for me is concrete, it is enough in itself. I realize that I don´t need to add anything or take anything away. I just use it and build it according to my own need for expressing my emotions. That makes my vessels to something more than just a vessel, it becomes a personal piece of art that is self contained and fulfilled in itself with simplicity and beauty, which is my goal.
My work has developed from a need to express my inner experiences and emotions. When I started building my cylinder shaped forms a couple of years ago I realized that this was something I always wanted to do but had not been capable of. There had been to many things in the way that had stopped them to come through in a natural way.
In this new series of vessels that I will have on show I have found the beautiful simplicity at that point there I can see how the shape and glaze works together in the “right way”. Where the finished piece gives something back to me, it has a character, it communicates in some intuitive way. To get to that point I had to force myself in to the uncomfortable zone where I don´t know exactly what will happen when I glaze my objects. I had to try new combinations, another glaze on top of the other that is already fired etc. And just wait and see what comes out of the kiln. Sometimes there are lots of bad results, but I continue to refire my objects until I have found out of what the beauty is about in each vessel.
I build my vessels by hand by coiling the wall and modelling it to make it thin and even. I build about 5 cm each day to manage to maintain the feeling of the thin walls of the vessel and in the same time it makes me able to build large forms.
The vessels are mostly glazed several times between each firing, with at least 2-3 different glazes. They are glaze fired about 1 or 2 times. The vessels are built by coiling technique in red stoneware containing fiber of paper and fired to 1200C.