The Latest Collection for the Themes and Variations

My latest collection was created for Themes and Variations in London, United Kingdom. These five sculptures were created to be enjoyed as a collection but also to work individually. Each is a quintessential style of piece from me as I was given the freedom in the brief to make what I felt would work best.

See more of this collection...  And more collections here...

The Latest Collection for the Candice Berman Gallery

My latest collection was created for Candice Berman Gallery in Johannesburg. It is a combination of my large, intricate sculptures and simpler, bolder statement pieces in a wide range of sizes.

Six of these were presented at the latest Design Joburg in Sandton Convention Centre. Candice Berman commented “​Together we celebrate new ideas, new collaborations and a newfound love for the arts as we move into a more innovative and novel way of thinking and operating. We celebrate our collections and invite new conversations.

See more of this collection...  And more collections here...

ASTRID DAHL’S CERAMICS

Clay has a life and a will of its own. Each sculpture transforms throughout the making process. These natural, organic forms inspire the sculptures but the development of each is multi-faceted as Astrid allows the clay space to grow and interact with her as she shapes it creating pieces that either closely resembles their origins or ones that are more abstract. 

At the outset, Astrid chooses to use white or black clay depending on how the shape she has in mind will interact with the light. The white is far more reflective, and simplistic forms do well in it.  The black clay- absorbing more light- needs to be more intricate in its form to allow the light to bounce through it and give it movement and life. Watching the light and its shadows shift and play across the smooth surface of each sculpture as the day passes into night creates a sense of fluidity and motion, having a calming and centring effect on the viewer. The finish is cool and silky to the touch having been carefully consolidated and then sealed with museum-grade Renaissance wax.

Astrid’s sculptures vary in complexity depending on the form she is looking to capture. From highly complex, anatomical pieces through to pieces which capture a motion or a concept. From symmetrical to bilateral symmetrical, each comes to life as Astrid engages with the clay. Although the sculptures are heavy, her intention is to create pieces that have a feeling of lightness and fragility and range from (30cm²) smaller works up to (80cm²)and sometimes larger.

ASTRID DAHL’S CERAMICS

Clay has a life and a will of its own. Each sculpture transforms throughout the making process. These natural, organic forms inspire the sculptures but the development of each is multi-faceted as Astrid allows the clay space to grow and interact with her as she shapes it creating pieces that either closely resembles their origins or ones that are more abstract. 

At the outset, Astrid chooses to use white or black clay depending on how the shape she has in mind will interact with the light. The white is far more reflective, and simplistic forms do well in it.  The black clay- absorbing more light- needs to be more intricate in its form to allow the light to bounce through it and give it movement and life. Watching the light and its shadows shift and play across the smooth surface of each sculpture as the day passes into night creates a sense of fluidity and motion, having a calming and centring effect on the viewer. The finish is cool and silky to the touch having been carefully consolidated and then sealed with museum-grade Renaissance wax.

Astrid’s sculptures vary in complexity depending on the form she is looking to capture. From highly complex, anatomical pieces through to pieces which capture a motion or a concept. From symmetrical to bilateral symmetrical, each comes to life as Astrid engages with the clay. Although the sculptures are heavy, her intention is to create pieces that have a feeling of lightness and fragility and range from (30cm²) smaller works up to (80cm²)and sometimes larger.

ASTRID DAHL’S PROCESS

You're working with a medium that organically unfolds to reveal a seemingly limitless potential of form. Astrid explains. 

Each sculpture begins with a reflection of the form Astrid is looking to create, taking into consideration any guidelines the client may have in mind or inspiration from nature. Deciding the final size happens when Astrid creates the base from which to coil. From there, coiling and shaping of the piece begins and it grows, the layer of coil upon layer. 

Astrid sees the process of coiling from the base-up as an exciting challenge where she has to work with (or against) balance, tension, and gravity — all of which magnify the incredible beauty and potential of the form. There is a meditation to it.

Once formed, the sculpture dries and that timing is dependent on the weather…nature dictates the schedule before it can be placed in the kiln for firing. Each sculpture is fired to earthenware temperatures of 1095 degrees  -and twice over for the black pieces, to ensure easier sanding.

Sanding then smooths out the fired clay and allows Astrid to refine the form even further to better catch the light or be more pleasing to the eye. It is then waxed and sealed to ensure its longevity and protect it from dust and other particles in its new home. 

Carefully wrapped in bubble wrap, cushioned by paper and sealed into its own, specially made wooden crate, the sculpture is then ready to be couriered around the world safely. 

ASTRID DAHL’S PROCESS

You're working with a medium that organically unfolds to reveal a seemingly limitless potential of form. Astrid explains. 

Each sculpture begins with a reflection of the form Astrid is looking to create, taking into consideration any guidelines the client may have in mind or inspiration from nature. Deciding the final size happens when Astrid creates the base from which to coil. From there, coiling and shaping of the piece begins and it grows, the layer of coil upon layer. 

Astrid sees the process of coiling from the base-up as an exciting challenge where she has to work with (or against) balance, tension, and gravity — all of which magnify the incredible beauty and potential of the form. There is a meditation to it.

Once formed, the sculpture dries and that timing is dependent on the weather…nature dictates the schedule before it can be placed in the kiln for firing. Each sculpture is fired to earthenware temperatures of 1095 degrees  -and twice over for the black pieces, to ensure easier sanding.

Sanding then smooths out the fired clay and allows Astrid to refine the form even further to better catch the light or be more pleasing to the eye. It is then waxed and sealed to ensure its longevity and protect it from dust and other particles in its new home. 

Carefully wrapped in bubble wrap, cushioned by paper and sealed into its own, specially made wooden crate, the sculpture is then ready to be couriered around the world safely. 

ABOUT ASTRID DAHL

“Taking time to exercise and do yoga before starting my work sets the tone and pace for my day” comments Astrid. “Listening to audiobooks keeps me focused when I’m in the studio.”

Astrid lives on a smallholding in Nottingham Road, KwaZulu Natal with her husband, her children, several dogs and cats, chickens, pigeons and fish. Her appreciation of her natural environment- rolling green hills, big blue skies, gorgeous sunrises and all that comes with country life, reveals itself in the beautiful forms she creates. 

Astrid’s love of working with clay and creating forms began at the Technikon Natal when she met her ceramics lecturer, Hendrik Stroebel in 1995. Astrid recalls, ‘Hennie has always been a great inspiration to his students. His love of form and design continues to inspire me to this day. He encouraged us to explore and create, using clay as a visual language. I recall one particular occasion when a group of Zulu women came in to teach us the traditional method of coiling clay — that was when I truly found my vocabulary.”

She graduated in 1999 with a degree in Fine Art. Together with two friends, she moved to Nottingham Road, in the Midlands of KwaZulu Natal, to take up work in a bronze casting foundry. There she crossed paths with the well-respected designer Neville Trickett, who introduced her to the botanical photography of Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932). This was a pivotal encounter which sparked an evolution in her journey with clay. Taking her cue from Blossfeldt’s monochromatic prints, she decided to work with white and black clay, as she saw it as creating a pure canvas for light and dark to “shape” the piece.

C52A0BC4-8DE8-4676-B61F-0291DB80079E

ABOUT ASTRID DAHL

“Taking time to exercise and do yoga before starting my work sets the tone and pace for my day” comments Astrid. “Listening to audiobooks keeps me focused when I’m in the studio.”

Astrid lives on a smallholding in Nottingham Road, KwaZulu Natal with her husband, her children, several dogs and cats, chickens, pigeons and fish. Her appreciation of her natural environment- rolling green hills, big blue skies, gorgeous sunrises and all that comes with country life, reveals itself in the beautiful forms she creates. 

Astrid’s love of working with clay and creating forms began at the Technikon Natal when she met her ceramics lecturer, Hendrik Stroebel in 1995. Astrid recalls, ‘Hennie has always been a great inspiration to his students. His love of form and design continues to inspire me to this day. He encouraged us to explore and create, using clay as a visual language. I recall one particular occasion when a group of Zulu women came in to teach us the traditional method of coiling clay — that was when I truly found my vocabulary.”

She graduated in 1999 with a degree in Fine Art. Together with two friends, she moved to Nottingham Road, in the Midlands of KwaZulu Natal, to take up work in a bronze casting foundry. There she crossed paths with the well-respected designer Neville Trickett, who introduced her to the botanical photography of Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932). This was a pivotal encounter which sparked an evolution in her journey with clay. Taking her cue from Blossfeldt’s monochromatic prints, she decided to work with white and black clay, as she saw it as creating a pure canvas for light and dark to “shape” the piece.

C52A0BC4-8DE8-4676-B61F-0291DB80079E