Visit to 'Kleistof'

Visit to 'Kleistof'

This time I am on my way to Culemborg to Ceramist Roos Cornelissen van Kleistof.In Culemborg I walk down a slope at the back of the station and end up on a small industrial area.where I quickly find the 'Cooperative of makers'. A great place in an old furniture factory from 1953. I enter and immediately end up in a large, spacious wood workshop because this is a real cooperative with shared workplaces, training rooms, etc. Furniture, objects and interiors are made, lessons are also given to school children. I am really surprised and look longingly into that wood workshop because I love it so much. I go up the stairs and there I find Roos in a very high and bright room. We go to the back part of the room where I stand between meters high racks, filled with all kinds of work by Roos but also by other ceramists and students. There are about 10 turntables set up in the middle and of course ovens to bake everything.

The ceramic workspace 

I am curious about her story, how did she end up here in Culemborg and what preceded that.Roos says that she initially worked as an architect in the Netherlands and Belgium. She obtained her master's degree in architecture cum laude from Delft University of Technology in 2013. She still works with her husband Hinke in their office “Studio Lommer”.Their work eventually takes them to Ghent and they live there for 7 years. While living in Ghent, Roos discovered that she really missed working with her hands. Much of the work as an architect takes place at management level and she felt less affinity with this than designing and making models. She decided to take on a new challenge and studied ceramics at the Academy of Visual Arts in Ghent.She turned endless pots, bowls and vases there. Later, when I hold her work, I notice how evenly and beautifully everything is turned.

Endless practice. 

After their time in Ghent they move to Rotterdam where she develops further and starts to look for her own visual language. She works with distortion by printing and combining rotated work. I think you can see in her work that she is also an architect. Her vases are certainly balanced to a great extent. There is tension, constructive forms and without fuss.

Reshaping turned forms

After some years in Rotterdam she moved away from the big city with her family, longing for more space and peace. She tells me she’s still doing a lot of research and looking for a kind of greater sense of a clear style. On the other hand, this research is also what interests her most. Making the same pot or bowl over and over again, to perfection, is less appealing to her. She wants to be able to play with different types of clay textures and glazes. I see exactly what she meansa lot of different ceramics standing in the big closet. A kind of carved vase and next to it something that looks similar, but when you get closer it turns out to be a kind of repetition of glaze. She tries a lot with different kinds of clay, sanding, polishing, glazing with clay sludge (engobe) and mixing glazes. She tries to get a kind of liveliness in the glaze that really gives the ceramic something extra without losing its purity. Just like Judith, whom I visited last time, Roos also appears to be aware of where her materials come from. Cobalt from Congo, for example, should you want that? She already made things from clay extracted from the ground around Culemborg. It is a path that still leaves much room for further experimentation all by trial and error.

Work of Roos simple strong forms

This makes me so happy, it always turns out that the people I visit look for and find their inspiration in their own environment. Appreciation for the craft and the story behind a product. I think we should go that way. Buy more selectively and be more aware of what you put in your home. How beautiful is it that you have a vase and you know who made it. How much practice it took to make it so beautiful. It sometimes seems too pricey, but if you drink a coffee from, for example, such a beautiful cup Roos makes I’am sure that you will appreciate and admire it every day. I speak from experience that it doesn't feel that way with a cup from the shopping center. The cup Roos makes may be more expensive, but the impulse to buy something new disappears because it remains valuable to you for much longer. If you always impulsively buy a new cup because you are bored with your old one, realize that after 4 shopping center cups you have spent just as much as one cup from Roos, which you still find beautiful because of everything that cup stands for. This is not intended as a morality lesson, but I hope to make you enthusiastic about investing in this.

Carving and engobe I really like the dark clays Roos uses.

Roos gave me a beautiful vase to take photos in advance. I have decided to do something with the work of all those beautiful makers that I visit. In the near future I will make room for them. On my Instagram page and on my website.Every maker gets a store-in-store spot. I will take atmospheric photos with their products for Instagram and they will be for sale here on my website. Accessible to everyone with a large and small budget. There are now 6 makers participating and I hope that many more will join. I will of course keep you informed of all developments. Here in my blog and on Instagram.

The work Roos in my home.

 Just one little side note. If you are ever in Culemborg, the store next to the coöperative is worth a visit.  A very beautiful home furnishings store named  ‘Sney Haus’ where you can admire the work of Roos and also of other makers who are located on the Culemborg industrial area.

 Roos, I thought it was a very nice open meeting and I look forward to seeing more of your work.

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