Gertrud Vasegaard (1913-2007) is pretty much as steeped in Danish ceramics tradition as you can get. A third-generation potter and little known outside of Denmark, she lived, by all accounts, a monk-like existence, living and breathing ceramics until her death at 94. (Why do all the lady potters live so long and in good health? There should be some kind of medical study…Is it the clay – nature’s facial? Is it the kiln- are they just well-baked? Hmmmm…)
Vasegaard’s simple, modernist sensibility is as present in her work as is her integrity. Her pots are useful, domestic, but they still have a kind of nobility about them – a strength, and a sense of serenity. The viewer can feel the quiet, meditative joy that her work gave her, while still being awed by her masterful technique and restraint. And amazingly, though some of these designs were created 40, 50, even 60 years ago, they could very easily be made today and still be considered modern.
I am so glad I ran across her work – the repetition, the lines, the dynamic simplicity really spoke to me. Remarkably, there has been only a single exhibit of her work outside of Denmark, in the UK in 2011. Here, a reviewer showed beautiful insight into Vasegaard’s designs: “No loudness is to be registered, only dynamic rest.“