After many years in the advertising industry as an award-winning graphic designer, Mona chose the freedom of artistic expression and took a BA in ceramic art, followed by an MA in visual arts at Oslo National Academy of the Arts.
She prefers to work intuitively and organically. The only frameworks are a couple of old barrels she inherited from her grandmother, and some simple plaster moulds she has made herself. Otherwise all the ceramic shaping is made by hand. This element of chance is well suited to Mona´s restless soul. And yet there is a holistic theme that binds together everything that she makes. The organic forms are interrelated, although each object is unique in shape and colour.
”Each morning when I go into my studio and open up a new pack of porcelain, I wonder what’s going to come out of it today”.
She kneads a small piece of black porcelain into the white and creates a new and unique expression. No two pieces are ever the same, each is a singular expression. In some you see the veined contours of the rocks, washed by the sea, in others black mountains furrowed by ice, or skeletal branches against a pale sky.
” I try to bring my experience of nature to the porcelain. I am interested in tactility, and of honouring nature in all its hues. But I leave much to chance. I work with natural materials, and it is the porcelain´s DNA that determines the final outcome”.
”Almost everything I make, is made in porcelain. For me its a kind of white gold. It is distinctive and challenging to work with, and I adore it. Porcelain is something quite different from clay. It has a plasticity and an elasticity that is totally different. For better or worse. It cracks really easily, which can be infuriating when you´ve put a lot of time into a piece”
When Mona adds squid ink into the porcelain, she creates something completely different.
”Here on Antiparos I have a neighbour who is a fisherman called Manolis. He catches squid, and he lets me watch whilst he “milks” the ink into my thermos”, laughs Mona.
From the ceramic oven, she fetches a white porcelain dish. It still retains the heat, but is porous and will start to patinate. Mona opens the thermos and covers the entire dish with black ink. If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of the glaze cracking. When she wipes the ink again, the black dye has left a complex network of thin veins in the porcelain.
”Nature and chance influences the outcome whether I work here or there”, says Mona.
”I’ve tried to create other things, but I always return to working with porcelain”.
Mona has found her aesthetic in a muted natural color palette of white, gray, brown and black.
Text Pia Strømstad / Tranlation Russell Lack