Claudia von Boch
"Geology is an important part of my work as I recycle reclaimed clays, engobes and glazes which are then layered thus reproducing the phenomenon of geological strata found in mountains, rocks and minerals. As in the process of producing ceramics, geological formations are a non-static occurrence as they are transformed by the action of time, erosion, pressure and heat. This source of inspiration is at the origin of sculptures and objects which reproduce this effect of stratification becoming themselves geological frescoes. They reproduce in a shortened time compared to that of nature, the partially controlled hazards of the firing process resulting in unexpected fusions, deformations, colours, drippings and fissures. The strata, like a skin, conserve the stages of time and tell a story. Such is the construction of life... layer upon layer, each layer will have an impact overall in a frail and intimate link with the terrestrial world."
"Born in Canada in 1957, I discovered ceramics in Argentina where I lived for 23 years. Maybe influenced by the fact that my family has been involved in industrial ceramics (Villeroy&Boch) since eight generations, clay has become my most faithful companion since I was young. At first a hobby, I then became autodidact taking ceramic courses, learning technology and wheel throwing with Argentine ceramicists. In 1990 I moved to Switzerland and then decided to become a professional ceramicist."
Claudia van Boch spent a year at Céruleum Visual Arts School of Lausanne (1994-95) before obtaining a Bachelor Degree in ceramics from the Applied Arts School of Vevey (1995-99). She now works between two studio spaces, one in the Piemont, Italy and one in Pully, Switzerland. Her work has been exhibited across Europe, US and Canada. She is a am member of Swiss Ceramics, Form Forum, Homo Faber (Michelangelo Foundation), the Association Vaudoise des Métiers d’Arts and the Académie Internationale de Céramique, AIC.
'All Together', grey stoneware & reclaimed clay materials, ⌀23x57cm
When did you first work with your chosen medium?
"The first time I touched clay I was only 10 years old. It was a ceramicist in Argentina, Perla Bardin, who started me working with clay. Her house was filled with ancient pre-Colombian ceramics and her studio was full of finished and unfinished work. It was a magical place and I immediately felt attracted to this media."
What has been the biggest challenge in your work?
"My biggest challenge was a sculpture I made in 2021-22 for “Melting Pot” a national competition organized by Swiss Ceramics and displayed at the Château de Nyon Muséum. It measures ∅ 140 cm x 210 cm high and is made up of 68 blocks. The idea for this work was turning in my head since a while. With the covid all exhibitions were stopped, and I found myself with plenty of time! It was a physically challenging work but it also gave me the opportunity to turn this period into a very productive time."
How does your location come into your work?
"I am fascinated by geology and its stratifications. I am lucky to be surrounded by mountains! From this source of inspiration, my work reproduces the phenomena of stratification found in natural landscapes: erosion, sedimentation, pressure and heat are developed in a time sequence that is shorter than that of nature. Thus, remains and scraps of clays, stoneware, porcelain, colored slips and glazes from my studio are recovered and accumulated in layers. The firing process represents a partially controlled risk that will give rise to unpredictable and surprising fusions, deformations, colors, drips, cracks and textures. Some of these effects might be considered defects in the world of ceramics, but for me they are acceptable as part of the work, just as they are part of rocks, minerals and mountains."