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Ville Heimala, Metsän elementit: Olennot, 2017. Keramiikkateos.

The Other Nature of Ceramics

Ville Heimala ∙ Katri-Maria Huhtakallio ∙ Aura Kajas ∙ Tiia Matikainen ∙ Lotta Mattila

Exhibition in the Craft Museum of Finland 18.5.–8.12.2019

Ville Heimala ∙ Katri-Maria Huhtakallio ∙ Aura Kajas ∙ Tiia Matikainen ∙ Lotta Mattila

We tend to have a great desire to compare our qualities and characteristics with animals. The five sculptors of The Other Nature of Ceramics exhibition bring out their personal relationship with nature and art making as well as tell about their thoughts behind their works. They observe the surrounding nature and interpret it sculpturally through ceramics. 

Nature is the origin of many myths, stories and fairytales, which have also later influenced the development of people’s relationship with nature. 

In the hands of Ville Heimala, Katri-Maria Huhtakallio, Aura Kajas, Tiia Matikainen and Lotta Mattila, the raw material is shaped by the endless forms and textures in the nature, and become saturated with stories and beliefs as they form into personal interpretations of encounters between different species. Above all, The Other Nature of Ceramics tells about the visible nature as well as its hidden and mystical side – the one that artists make visible through their thoughts and feelings and by the means of art. 

“Many inanimate things and phenomena have also been interpreted to have a soul or personality, which makes the boundary between animate and inanimate obscure. Especially the abnormal creatures and phenomena have been perceived as having supernatural power from the afterlife”, sculptor Ville Heimala describes the upcoming exhibition. 

Ceramics is commonly associated with pottery, which is why The Other Nature of Ceramics exhibition aims to show how the ceramics can be used as means of artistic expression in sculpture. The art is influenced by narration, essence of humanity, folk beliefs and symbolism together with the surrounding nature. As a result there is a spectrum of artworks that reflect the Finnish people’s own diverse relationship with nature – everything from the beauty of nature to its more macabre spirit. 


Ville Heimala (b. 1977)
"The nature has always been very important to me, which can be seen strongly in my works. Before my orientation to artistic profession I completed a degree in biology and it has an influence on my art. I am interested in the impact of the surrounding nature on the development of art as part of culture and at its most original form it can be seen with indigenous people. What I find the most interesting are the sensations caused by nature and how those feelings are seen in people’s art.

Especially the Finnish nature and the cultural history of the Finno-Ugric people, but also the artistic style and thoughts of other cultures influence my artistic expression. I find it fascinating to combine mystical elements and natural science to create something new. I often assemble my ceramic works from reliefs and mosaics."

Katri-Maria Huhtakallio (b. 1983)
"During the latest years the themes of my works have originated from the Finnish nature, folk tradition and beliefs. Nature and animals are part of Finnishness and in ancient traditions the nature has had a very special ever-present role in everything that happens. In my works my own personal experiences are combined with ancient beliefs and stories or with natural science research. 

Also the material plays an important role when I start working. Observing the material, feeling and touching it, even the scent, are things that affect the process. They create new images, new connections and perspectives for working. Gradually the work is transformed over several days, sometimes even weeks, while its nature begins to dig out and may turn out very different from the original idea." 

Aura Kajas (b. 1976)
"The central inspiration for my work is the endless spectrum of shapes and textures in the fauna. In addition, I am interested in the symbolism that is connected to animals since the prehistoric times as well as in the human need to interpret animal characteristics and encounters between our species. 

Sometimes the nature feels like a world full of mysteries and secrets. Man can peek into it without ever knowing everything. The nature has through all times nurtured our imagination, it has scared and delighted us."

Tiia Matikainen (b. 1975)
"In my new ceramic sculptures, I picture the connection between human and nature through shapes and drawings that are connected to them. In the sculpture figures the folded surface acts as a covering curtain or an opening curtain, and as a kind of fabric for the drawings that are scraped on the clay.

Significant part of my works is the inner world of a human, the mystical, unexplained side of life that I deal with by using pictures connected to nature. In my works I combine such themes as hiding, covering and evanescence. I take ideas from our skewed world, mythologies as well as sacred images."

Lotta Mattila (b. 1986)
"The most important themes in my works are the description of human nature and the relationship between sculpture and its surrounding space. As an artist I want to explore the interface of animate and inanimate through animal characters. When does a piece of clay turn into a living-like figure? What makes a two-dimensional, reduced figure a living individual?"

More information

Mikko Oikari, senior curator, The Craft Museum of Finland
p. 050 553 3880, mikko.oikari [at]