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Q&A: Sophie Wahlquist

Where are you from and how does that affect your work?

Growing up in a house where many ancestors have lived during very different times is like a role play where you sit on a chair that others have been sitting on in different outfits and under circumstances that share little but the dimensions of the chair, is like trying to renenact their situation while understanding my own. The physical elements are like crutches when trying to relate to the past or someone else’s story. As a kid i tried to put my head into the dolls house to forget my size and let my eyes adjust to the tiny things.I think much of the late baroque playfulness is coming back in the ceramic work.I grew up in the countryside and feel that moss and leaves are important loopholes still.

How did you get started? I know you started out with painting. How did you stumble upon that skill? How did that evolve into ceramics? What do you want to explore next?

I started out by telling stories to my brothers at night. Later, painting became the medium i studied and practiced until the pandemic where we lived in Stockholm for a few months. I went to a beautiful little ceramic studio and started working with clay. The lady who runs the place and i were mostly alone as ppl were staying at home at that time.i fell in love with the material instantly and returned everyday. To me the process is very similar to painting but now my cups can hold water and i can eat with the spoons.

What's your interaction with homewares like daily? Do you like to cook, take pleasure in setting the table, etc...

I love the drama in setting up a table - and since making my own objects i can make the sculptural forms for flowers and fruits which can decorate a table for a wild dinner party. Mostly i feel less afraid to break anything now .Btw please send me all your shattered pieces everyone.

I love your implementation of things that are broken in the kiln into your next piece. Is conservation and zero waste an important part of your craft?

The things that break in my home are also reused in the studio and its a big relief to be able to think of a shard as an ornament rather than the loss of a beloved object. Of course, this only considers gain in an artistic sense and doesn’t solve the problems of waste and harm caused for nature and the artist.Most colors are made of precious poison and hazardous solvents, pigments and acids extracted from the earth, minerals, animals, metals and other exquisit sources.

How has your practice changed over time?
I am falling asleep with images of shapes and forms moving in my head. In the studio, I am following impulses and over time I am trying out different sizes and techniques. Mostly i am making what i would like to have and see everyday.

You have such an eye for design and beautiful things- from your choice in studio furniture to the way you dress yourself. Do your other interests influence your art?
I can’t think of anything that does not have an impact on the work in the studio.

Describe how the female gaze in art is important to society.
During my lifetime i realized the change in what i hear is said about women and what they can or cannot do. Being able to see women lead, count, chose, decide, as well as articulate her own experiences is all we have to understand and grow.If we hear a false story repeatedly, we might believe it

What’s on your playlist when you work?
Right now its The Pirates Gospel by Alela Diane 

Do you snack while you work? On what?
Licorice- i bring the saltiest , blackest licorice from Scandinavia .

Describe your dream project 

I would love to find people who commission whole service sets from me for extravagant dinners or daily breakfast. Or see my work as part of a stage for theater or movie scenes. I am always dreaming of my earthenware work as partly ceremonial and it is only really completed once in use.

Name something you love, and why.Name something you don’t love, and why.

I Love when memory is prompted by a smell.I imagine it must have felt similar to when discovering the world through a microscope the first time. Reality is not what we see.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Make it yours.

Find Sophie on Instagram

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