Maija-Liisa Tuoriniemi

Self-taught with an artistic practice since a very young age, I started professional creation of unique ceramics in 2015 after a first career in media research. Having grown up in a family of artists and studied in continuing education as well as independently various subjects in  creative work and craftsmanship, my curiosity and research extends beyond ceramics: painting, drawing, collage, leather sewing, woodworking, upcycling of recovered and recycled materials, fused glass, object design, interior decoration.

 

I grew up in Finland, near the Arctic Circle. Life on the island of Hailuoto, at the far end of the Gulf of Bothnia in the Baltic Sea, was punctuated by pastel winters, colourful autumns, summers nuanced with lush greens, and springs where smells, aromas and scents explode in the light that gains again after the winter. There are sunsets where the sun never sets and sunrises where the sun does not rise. The light is subtle and expressive, precious, and people keep their curtains open to better welcome it.

 

The nature on the island invites to immersion; in the forest with its tall pines where the sunshine is filtered by the trees and creates a crisscross of light and shade, and on the shore of the Baltic Sea with its dark metallic reflections. In this contrasting landscape that is constantly changing with the seasons, time passes quietly in observation, contemplation and wonder.

 

It is a fertile state of mind that is wonderfully suited to clay work as I practice it: as simply as possible, mainly in the palm of my hands, without a wheel. For a long time I refused to listen to the call of the clay and of my hands, but in the end it was necessary to admit the obvious: something was trying to express itself, so I finally let it.

 

First in the heart of Paris, then in the Hauts de France, the smells that emanate from a fresh block of clay remind me of the scents of wet earth and dead leaves that saturate the air when the snow is melting in the spring. Then you know that soon things will grow, a new life will emerge and blossom. Making an object out of clay is a little bit like watching a small shoot grow and become a flower or a blade of grass in the garden. 

A studio for art ceramics and for the transmission of a know-how based on the inherent wisdom of the hands

Pottery as a medium for creative expression

Creation in my practice is intuitive and existential and its slowness a deliberate choice. It's more a quest for experiences than for mastery and about negotiating with the material rather than taming it. Minimizing control allows maximizing research and discovery in a joyful dialogue with the medium:
Close your eyes to better hear your hands; choose to work with your left hand even though you're right-handed.
Find harmony in contrasts, celebrate imperfection, welcome  the unexpected.

Ceramics for the hands and for the touch

Many pieces combine two or three different raw materials:
- white porcelain
- black stoneware
- white stoneware, fine chamotte (grog) or very rough chamotte.

The structure of an object is in one of the three raw materials. The decorations are most often in white or coloured porcelain, but sometimes also in uncoloured stoneware.

The association of these different materials together with the variations in the finishes - raw glaze-free or glossy/matte/satin glaze - creates visual and sensory contrasts that invite to seize the object and explore its textures.

Being an artist / a designer / a craftsman

I see these as one single state of mind, not as different professions.

It consists of several elements:

Curiosity:
An eager desire to know or learn about something.

Research:
A detailed study of a subject, especially in order to discover (new) information or reach a (new) understanding.

Experimenting:
Empiricism; try, test, check ideas, materials, shapes, etc.

Questioning:
Any initiative animated by a quest for knowledge; an inquiry or interrogation that favors discovery and evolution.