Oslo has a new, young, and talented ceramic artist – Anette Krogstad. She is only 31 years old but has already made handcrafted ceramics for top restaurants like Yalajali and Pjoltergeist. On Saturday the 12th of March you can purchase some of her work at reduced prices in a workshop clean up sale in Brenneriveien near Blå. I was there a few weeks ago to purchase some pieces, explore her studio, and figure out how she became so skilled at a young age. Her story is truly remarkable.
My first encounter with Anette Krogstad‘s ceramic work and the artist herself, was at Pjoltergeist when she launched the series entitled Moomin Goes on Holiday. Pjoltergeist was famous for their Moomin plates, but eventually got tired of them and sought renewal. What’s especially unique with Anette as a ceramic artist is that she’s also very much into food. She has worked in restaurants and got to know other restaurateurs through her job. Anette spent two months and made nearly 200 objects for Atli at Pjoltergeist to lend, free of charge, for a few months to try them out. In the end, he and his team decided to keep most of the items and purchased them from Anette. Some plates were less practical for this specific restaurant and were returned. To mine and your pleasure! Now we can buy them instead.
Anette obtained a bachelor’s degree in product design and a master’s degree in ceramics, but was still not satisfied. The first project she did for a restaurant was crafting plates for Even Ramsvik at Ylajali. She worked an entire summer using molds and casting porcelain, but in the end, the workload was not worth the paycheck. She had to learn how to shape plates through the old-fashioned way of wheel-turning. As the first person ever she got accepted for a three-month internship at the famous Danish ceramics producer K.H. Würtz. The internationally known father and son team, Aage and Kasper Würtz, delivers their handcrafted art to well-known restaurants like Noma, Geranium, and Amass and many top restaurants outside of Denmark as well.
Anette spent about one month in Denmark learning the basics and was then able to make plates without supervision from the Würtzs. Aage and Kasper also taught her a lot about different glazing techniques. One of the biggest challenges with ceramics is that you don’t actually know how the end result looks like until the finished product comes out of the oven. You can’t see the colors or patterns you are working with clearly, because they become visible only through exposure to heat in the oven.
As an example, Anette showed us a cup where the glazing was ruined by setting the temperature 50 degrees C higher than the glazing could withstand. That made the glaze runny, which created a cool effect and unique color. Sometimes these effects are discovered by chance, through failure. Normally, Anette makes 5-10 versions before she gets the expression she wants. That’s if she’s able to reproduce the result at all. She writes down her recipes, but the items never get exactly the same the second time. In my opinion, that’s part of the beauty of handcrafted goods, though.
Top restaurants these days use handcrafted ceramics, especially the ones who want to showcase high quality, organic and local ingredients. In the New Nordic cuisine, it’s not only the food that tells a story about the region, but also the materials you serve it on. Whether it’s stoneware, wood or glass, the presentation enhances the experience. The next time you are in a restaurant and have finished your dish from a beautiful plate – take a look underneath to see who has made it. That’s what I always do. If you find one that has both the initials AK and the Würtz signature, you know exactly who made it! I hope to feature more artists who contribute to the culinary scene, so if you have any feedback on this I would be happy.
Who is your favorite ceramics artist? Please leave a comment below.