Originally from the countryside near Metz in the East of France, Marie Liebhardt found her way to Copenhagen via Paris where she studied product design.
When in Paris, Marie began an internship with a local ceramicist as an antidote to a design course which increasingly centred around computers. She needed to touch something and was drawn to the smooth, calming process of making.
Marie is reluctant to be described as a ceramicist, citing a respect for the art and the long years it takes to master techniques. When she was growing up her father wanted her to be an engineer and she retains an intense focus on form and scientific process. The complexity of ceramics appeal and challenge in equal measure. “There is a connection with science. It’s about calculating shrinkage, losing a certain percentage, depending on which clay you use, one might lose 11 % another 8% - it’s interesting, challenging, it’s hard to do anything precise.”
It was hard for Marie to accept that the process throws up unexpected results, that often cannot be calculated. It challenges, patience has to be cultivated. She now recognises it as a life-long learning process. “For me, coming from a design background, I was drawing, making prototypes and I wanted exactly that form to be re-created. Ceramics taught me that the process gives the result, I should not expect something exact.”
Read about Marie's process in Issue #001 of the Åben Journal
Discover and Purchase Marie's work in the Åben Shop
“The inspiration is the street, how things change with time”
Her ‘Flaws’ collection reflects a preoccupation with layers, with time reflected in an urban environment. Delicate porcelain was her first vessel for conveying the gritty reality of the street. Posters peeling off walls to reveal older posters underneath, glimmers of rust. The inspiration for this came from wandering the streets of New York, Milan, Paris – taking photos as she went.
Pieces in the second part of the collection bring metal and ceramics together and are intriguing as they remain unfinished. The ever-changing metal in Marie’s vases is trapped within static ceramic. Their colours will be different today than in 10 years-time. It is living, adjusting, breathing. This work is the product of long hours of experimentation, accelerating natural processes. Marie sees these changes in the city she now calls home, Copenhagen. In the city the roofs of many buildings have changed from once-shiny copper to vibrant green. The salt in the air leaving its mark. The process reminds Marie of tea boxes in Japan, the finger-marks from years of handling creating their unique patina.
When Marie arrived in Copenhagen it was supposed to be for one year but she was accepted for a masters and has yet to leave. She works from the City Workshops the “crazy, good workshops” that provide creative space for around 300 artists and designers and which are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “Everyone is so aware of design here; the interiors of the Danes are insane. They have the right pieces, they are very aware of design and proud of that.”
“Ceramics taught me that it is the process that gives the result
and I should not expect anything exact.”