The Art of Giving Away

This blog post is about the ceramic artist Lawrence Epps who has become known for giving away his work. There is something about this that appeals to me - for better or worse!

As an artist, Epps explores the collective attribution of value to objects, processes and people. I came across Lawrence’s work first hand at the British Ceramics Biennial (“BCB) in 20013 and again at the BCB in 2015. Both times, his work made me pause and reflect.

His piece for the BCB in 2013 was called Take Stock and it invited people to take one of 12,000 pieces away with them. The piece was a large scale sculpture of tiny extruded office workers sitting at their desks within small confined boxes. 

I think that this particular piece made such a big impression on me at the time, as I was in the process of quitting my lawyer job in the city of London to pursue my ceramic career. Epps himself says that the installation was all about questioning the ideologies implicit in the culture of the office and the system, which dictates the shape of our working lives.

The installation was filmed during the duration of the show but the film is only ever now played in reverse – so that it appears as though the audience members are building the troubling stack from the ground up, recreating an office building full of workers trapped inside their ceramic cubicles, stuck in front of their computers.

Epps has explained in an interview that he was intrigued by the way the nature of a visitor’s gaze would change once they discovered they could remove a piece of the sculpture. Suddenly a leisurely but distanced art appreciation of the sculpture as a whole turned into a much more detailed, acquisitive gaze that came with the pressure of choice. I felt this when I was there. I actually didn't want to have to choose - or even take one of the pieces away. But I did. With a strange sense of shame.

At the BCB in 2015, Epps made thousands of porcelain and terracotta coins. Each visitor could take a coin and decide whether to gamble it in a coin pusher machine to try and win more coins or keep the one coin, which they were given. The artist said that the thinking behind the idea for the piece was about people’s desire to acquire accompanied by the constant pressure to disregard what we already have in a bid to get something more. 

I love the way that Epps manages to evoke quite basic human emotions in his audiences through his work - and often emotions that we may not be very proud of (greed, inability to choose, questioning our existence, the desire to own objects etc.). 

I'm proud to say that I didn't gamble my coin but then again, maybe it was just the desire to own it that stopped me from sticking it in the coin pusher. I guess no one will ever know my reasons for keeping it and maybe that's just as well...

Bye for now. 

Love x Stine   



In Scandinavia, Birch is a highly treasured tree. To the ancient Scandinavians, birch was primarily a symbol of transition from spring to summer and, more broadly, the symbol of death and resurrection. It was also the symbol of the goddess Nerthus, who was considered the great Mother Earth.


Scandinavia’s ongoing love for birch is still prevalent in the designs originating from these northern shores of Europe in more recent times. In this blog post, I have gathered a few of my favourite Scandinavian birch inspired pottery pieces. Enjoy!

Handmade Koivu vase made by Finnish ceramicist Maarit Mattanen. The Koivu vase was originally designed for an art exhibition in the National Parks of Lapland in Finland. “Koivu” means birch in Finnish.


The talented, Swedish potter, Maria Holmberg, found her way of incorporating a birch pattern on her pottery with a special ceramic printing technique.

Simple and beautiful.



I love these handmade birch bark tumblers by FarmhouseMud.



And finally, I adore this lush vase, also from FarmhouseMud, made from super thin layers of white stoneware mixed with paper pulp and then peeled back just like a real birch tree.




Birch for now from SkandiHus. Hej hej!

Coffee Lovers Unite

True to my love of the use of natural materials in art and design, I recently fell in love with Kählers new coffee brewer, Barista.


The design is so fresh and Scandinavian. Allegedly it makes unparalleled great tasting coffee as well but as I haven't tasted it yet, I can't vouch for this. I hope it is true though as I can all too easily imagine myself sitting in the morning sunshine drinking great coffee out of something this aesthetically pleasing.

ImageThe cups are made of porcelain and you can buy a set of 4 together with a lush natural wooden stand. However, to be honest, I might just buy one cup so that I can selfishly enjoy it on my own. The only problem with that would, of course, be the fact that the Barista comes in three (wonderfully nordic) shades and I am not sure that I'd be able to choose just one...

The designer behind the little coffee beauty is Michael Geertsen who graduated from the Danish Design School in 1993. His inspirational designs and high artistic quality has made his art known throughout the world.


He states that he finds inspiration in the meeting between function and sculpture – and his work draws a clear line back to classic ceramics, but shapes and colours are used in such a way that tries to challenge the observer. I would say that he succeeds in this. Just look at this great red sculpture as an example:


Michael recently exhibited some of his works at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London with his installation: A DIALOGUE WITH HISTORY.


ImageMichael described it as “an explosion of mixed works, which take on some of the highlights of our civilisation”.  He further explained that he took inspiration from Greek vases which is really apt as the Victoria and Albert Museum has one of the largest collections of ceramics in the world. The ceramic collection spans almost the entire development of our civilisation.

Michael Geertsen says that he hopes that when people see his designs they will go: “Wow, I really like the idea behind that – and it is beautiful as well – I must have it”. Well, Michael, you certainly succeeded in making me feel like that. I am pretty sure that I MUST add your lovely little coffee brewer to my growing collection of kitchen ceramics.

Thank you!

The Beautiful World of Anne Black


A few years back, I celebrated my birthday in a Danish summer-house by the sea with my closest friends and family. It was one of the best weekends of my life. Some of my friends gave me a beautiful sushi set and a pair of earrings from the Danish ceramic and jewellery designer, Anne Black. I instantly fell in love with her designs and her style has inspired me ever since.


Anne Black is an interesting person and the more I have learnt about her, the more I am drawn to her designs.


If nothing else, go on to her website to be mesmerised by the absolutely beautiful video and music that greets you as you enter.

Visiting her website is akin to visiting any shop selling her products. Looking at her designs gives you a sense of the ambience and sensibility of her universe.


The sushi set that I was given, is from her collection "Black is Blue" which has been hand painted on the inside. This, Anne says, is to show that beauty comes from the inside. Adorable.

Whilst I am generally not a fan of outsourcing the arts/crafts, I think that if you are going to do it, you should do it the way Anne has done. She is co-owner of a small ceramics factory located outside of Hanoi, Vietnam in a joint venture with a Vietnamese partner, Mrs Hang. This was established with the ongoing support, supervision and guidance of the official agency DANIDA, the Danish Institute of Development.

ImageThe working environment has been developed with assistance from international experts and is comparable to Danish standards. Therefore, the production is monitored and continuously developed in relation to the working environment, health, social rights, external environmental load and technical competencies. What's more, the company's approach is decidedly personal, fair trade and earth-friendly. Nice work, Anne!

You can find Anne Black products in selected shops throughout the world but unfortunately it does not seem like she has a UK retailer.


But fret not, you can buy her products online right here.

Alternatively, treat yourself to a weekend in Copenhagen and visit her recently opened concept store, Black, on Gl. Kongevej 103 DK-1850 Frederiksberg, Copenhagen.

Love love and kys kys from SkandiHus