If you are at all interested in ceramics then a visit to the Keramix Gallery of Beate Thiesmeyer and Michael Sälzer is an absolute must.
The gallery is nestled in one of the hills surrounding Kaub - about 3 kilometers from Kaub.
The tranquil rural setting gives an unhurried relaxed feeling to the gallery where you can take your time looking at and admiring the fascinating creations of these two artists.
Many of their creations are designed for the outdoors – adding charm and interest to gardens both large and small. These can be viewed in the appropriate setting in the gallery’s garden.
The terrain of the gallery’s garden is divided into sections with a small pool, a honeysuckle pavilion, a small “fern forest”, a moss covered slope as well as a stone terrace.
Each of these sections provides an area for a small “theme garden” where
the products – sculptures, containers, bowls, ceramic animals can be viewed. All of
these are frost proof (very important in this part of the world).
The terrain of the garden is very varied with quite steep slopes, old established trees, wet and dry sections. These elements have been deliberately incorporated/built into the charming garden in which the creations are displayed to great advantage.
In the gallery itself you can observe the progress of the works – each of which, by the way, is unique - no mass production here!
Throughout the year exhibitions are held at the gallery and if you are lucky enough, one may coincide with your visit to the Rhine Valley.
Here you will see many stoneware salt glazed bowls by Herr Sälzer and delightful sculptures of terracotta by Frau Thiesmeyer.
Frau Thiesmeyer commenced her study in the field of ceramics in 1976 in Westerwald, completing it in1982 with her Meisterprüfung (Masters Exam).
During her study period she joined forces with Michael Sälzer and they jointly founded their workshop/gallery near Kaub.
From 1985 Frau Thiesmeyer extended her artistic reach to the design and manufacture of porcelain and was invited to the International Porcelain Symposium in Khala.
Around 1992 she further spread her artistic wings to encompass ceramic sculptures and free painting.
All of these facets of her artistic creativity can be seen and enjoyed at the gallery in Kaub.
As her primary medium Frau Thiesmeyer has chosen a very rough clay.This gives her figures a matt, warm "earthy-coloured" form where the structure of the medium is brought to the fore.
Her themes are mostly of people and animals.
"I like observing and comparing and see both animal characteristics in people and human characteristics in animals."
Her works all start out as plates of clay that she then rolls into tubes , keeping a vague idea of what she wishes to create in the back of her mind.
The clay is then folded and kneaded until she sees a form that speaks to her and inspires her and these she then develops until the figures attain a life of their own. A few of them are happily living in our garden!!
Michael Sälzer commenced his study of ceramics in 1976 in Westerwald, completing it in 1982 with his Meister Prüfung (Masters Exam).
During his study period he founded with Beate Thiesmeyer their current workshop/gallery near Kaub.
In 1985 he began working with and producing salt glazed porcelain and in 1986 founded a company to produce gas fired ovens of his own design.
Michael Sälzers works, although still
retaining a broad connection to the circular symmetry of traditional
pottery, have an individuality, a
“personality” of their own occasioned by the method of construction
His works are formed with the hands but without use of the potters wheel
and evidence of the then “work in progress” is deliberately left as part of the
works history and character.
Once the work has attained a leather-like hardness, Herr Sälzer examines
it for aesthetically pleasing features which are enhanced while others are
removed. A mixture of randomness and artistic input is thus achieved.
After the body is finished the feet, necks and handles are formed.
The whole process is very time consuming but he enjoys the patient waiting required for the right moment to proceed with the work and indeed says it is, in part, a protest against the hectic of modern life.
He uses a brush to apply the glazes,with bold impulsive strokes. This gives to each work a unique element from the moment of creation - "an inspiration frozen in time" as it were.
An element in his work that you will be hard put to find elsewhere is the "salt glazing". This is the introduction of various salts at a high temperature (1,300 °C). This procedure, developed by his ancestors - and patented by him in 1990 - simply sets his creations apart and puts them on a level of their own.
Do yourselves a favour - visit the gallery - you won't regret it!
If you would like to find out more about these two artists and their works, the following links will help:
The first two links are to the Homepages of the respective artists and the latter is to their joint Homepage.
The first two are avilable in English,German and French and the last only in German. Happy surfing!