Interview: Eleonor Boström – Ceramic Artist

Today we’d like to welcome artist and ceramist, Eleonor Bostrom to Jung Katz.

Tell us about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
I’m a Swedish ceramist currently living and working in San Francisco since 3 months back. I’m originally from Stockholm but most recently lived in Berlin Germany for 2 years. I make sculptures with function and sculptural utility goods all made out of paper porcelain.

How did you get started doing what you do?
My grades where not great back in school and the only thing I really enjoyed were the creative classes as sewing, art and wood shop. I’ve always been better in expressing myself creatively in form than in words. So coming out of comprehensive school I knew I wanted to continue with that but not quite sure about which craft. I went to a preparatory school where you got to test all the classic crafts for a year, like weaving, ceramics, sculpture, carpentry, printing and painting.  After that I was kind of sure that ceramics was my thing, because I also have a love for illustration and I got to combine the two. I like the way you can get something with function and also that the material can become something else like a sculpture. You can find different kinds of audiences with the same material, it can really be a diverse craft if you want it to be. After the preparatory school I went a second year of just doing ceramics. Then doing my bachelor in fine arts at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, graduating in 2010. So I’ve been going with the flow since then, I got a studio together with a friend from art school straight  away and now I’ve been working with ceramics for 4 years.

Ceramic Art by Eleonor BostromCeramic Art by Eleonor Bostrom Ceramic Art by Eleonor BostromWhat’s your inspiration?
I sketch a lot, always having my sketchbook with me. But even if something looks good on paper it’s a different thing when it comes to form, so often it changes when I’m building. I get inspiration from working, making work makes you think of different paths you can take from the starting point.

Funny dog gifs and visits to thrift shops I also find inspiring.

What is art to you?
Art is something I want to make me feel something emotionally, good or bad- doesn’t matter.

What does your typical day look like?
First off, I make to-do-lists to keep structure.

I try to get an early start in the studio, working for about 6 hours, with either making stuff, preparing clay, decorating, glazing, loading and unloading kilns. After that, I come home and have office time, which includes maintaining my blog, website, sales, e-mail, sketching new ideas and simultaneously baking bread. I also try to squeeze in a visit to a thrift shop during the day.

Ceramic Art by Eleonor Bostrom Ceramic Art by Eleonor BostromCeramic Art by Eleonor Bostrom
How do you keep motivated?
Working hard and getting better. And discussing clay with peers.

What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
Bring more value to handmade stuff and make people happy.

What, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
Be in the art school studios 24/7. It will most likely be a long time before you can afford such a great studio and equipment again. And maybe study some business and marketing if you have time.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
My grandfather said ‘work hard if you are gonna make something of yourself’ a very simple and good mantra.

Ceramic Art by Eleonor BostromAny words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
After art school I took part time jobs as an assistant to different ceramists. A great way to keep on learning and getting advice when you, yourself, are getting started in the same field.

Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
I’m participating in a group show in Barcelona that an animal shelter foundation is putting together, all the profits goes directly to the shelter. It’s on September 27th from 16-23 at ‘Pati Verger’ inside the Museum Frederic Marés just behind the Cathedral of Barcelona.

And in October I’m going to Sapporo Japan to participate in a group show with Nordic and Japanese Artists arranged by the Northern Arts Collaboration. I’m very excited to see Japan for the first time!

What’s your dream project?
I’ve just moved to the US so I’m kind of in my dream project right now, trying to make this new situation as fruitful as possible! I really like to not overthink stuff and I don’t plan further than a half of a year or one year ahead.

Ceramic Art by Eleonor BostromWhat art supplies do you use?
I mix my own clay out of Porcelain and toilette-paper, a hand blender comes in handy. I use a reservoir pen filled with color stained water for all the drawings on the bisque ware. The finish on the ware is with a clear, glossy glaze. My rolling pin is essential for the clay work.

Any other artists that you would like to recommend for others to check out as well?
My classmates from Konstfack, Jakob Solgren, Emelie Johansson and Karin Nordgren.

And my two last employers Kühn keramik and Uta Koloczek, I learned so much from them!

Follow artist, Eleonor Bostrom on Tumblr and Instagram. Check out her Etsy shop as well.

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