241 Things

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Studium Generale 1000things lectures, The Hague

241 Things

Question: you’re an artist who travels over the whole world. What was your motivation to follow a course for amateurs?

I’ve always had a passion for “arts and crafts.” I admire the fact that many people spend their free time on “creative amusement”. As an artist, I feel closely connected to the position of the amateur. One morning I woke up and though: okay, today I’ll embark on a pottery course. In my work, I focus on an activity and immerse myself completely into it. The ceramics course I signed up for was near my studio, most of the participants were elderly. Together with these people, I tried to delve into ceramics techniques and make them my own. I mostly discovered my complete lack of talent.


The forms of your vases are quite basic. What do these forms refer to?

The title of the project is “handiwork”, which means something like “made by hand”, with all the accompanying imperfections. When I began work in the pottery class, I soon realised that it would be a difficult and strenuous process to try and realise something perfect and beautiful, so I decided I wouldn’t strive for that. The different forms of vases are sometimes created by coincidence, other times through carelessness.

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You’ve printed portraits on your vases. Do you know these people? Are they related to you?

They’re “decorations” that I apply using photo transfers and glaze. No, I don’t know these people, with the girls on the beach as an exception. The portraits come from my own collection of funny photos. They’re usually of situations of people showing themselves off at their best.


Are they functional objects or is it art?

My ceramics are often meant as “display ceramics,” objects made to be looked at. Comparable to the mugs you’d place on your mantel or in the cupboard. But of course, you can drink a beer out of one from time to time. So, if you buy one of my ceramic pieces you can do with it what you want. It just might be a little gross


I first encountered Aurie Ramirez’s work at a Madrid art fair at the stand belonging to the Jack Hanley gallery from San Francisco. As it turned out, she makes drawings within the context of Studio Creative Growth, the world’s largest and oldest studio for handicapped adult artists. Ramirez is autistic. The following questions have been interpreted by Jennifer O’Neal, the manager of her studio.

What does folk art mean to you? What relationship does your work have to folk art?

Aurie’s work is related to folk art in the sense that she never followed formal training, she’s an autodicact. She’s driven by the desire to create.

Do you think that in this world without borders, folk art can have an influence that rises above its own cultural territories and the context in which it was made?

Folk art definitely exerts an influence. After all, outsider art has long been collected by art institutes and private collectors, and has inspired generations of artists. Possibly, outsider art has had such a great influence thanks to its unmistakeable “enlightening” qualities. A strong capability to communicate with the viewer, the driving force behind its creation and its subject matters that are extremely personal and honest contribute to the work’s originality, in turn allowing it to enlighten the viewer.

Could you describe the folk art you grew up with?

There are many elements in her work that can be traced back to her youth and the parental home: family dinners, the band Kiss, the TV show The Addams Family, and punk inspired fashion.