Pauwels, Kaat

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Kaat Pauwels is educated in ceramics at the Sint-Lucas Institute of Fine Arts in Ghent, Belgium under tutelage of Marnix Hoys, Rik Vandewege and Trees De Mits, between 1987 and 1991. Kaat did additional studies like sculptural work with paper fibres under tutelage of Jean Decoster, sculptural work in de nature, Finland and sculptural work with wool: felting and colouring with plant materials. She did some fieldtrips  to Cornwall, England, La Borne, France, Masterclass ‘Clay’: Westerwald Museum, Germany and ‘Galeries’, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England

Kaat is a self-employed Ceramist / Ceramics teacher. 

Her workshop is located in Aalst, Belgium

Address: Botermelkstraat 17c, 9300 Aalst.

Tel. 053/70 05 30/ 0472253777

Pictures: Handbuilt, eggshape container, around 1998 (source Galerie Carla Koch, Amsterdam). bowl (source website artist); 3 ceramic shapes (source website artist).

Work of the artist: 

Throughout Kaat Pauwels’ work two archetypical forms keep recurring: the bowl and the vase. Although familiar, not only because of their primitive shape, they evoke a whole unique universe of waving desert dunes, sand ripples, butterfly cocoons and eroded riverbeds. Not only does the form gives a very natural feel to her work, the colour of the naked clay, mixed with natural pigments also adds to this sensation of ‘arriving home’. Here, the clay may be clay, celebrated in all it’s fascinating facets.

The vases are primarily formed in a soft white. Layer upon layer rolls of clay are stacked (a technique called ‘coiling’). The rolls of clay are joined with clay silt, in which she lets the waves flow out of the form of the vase. Little by little she builds them up until the shape is finished, a minute work that requires a lot of concentration.

Her bowls she makes in soft earth shades, ranging from off-white to purple-brown. The rolled-out sheet of clay is first moulded. Then she re-shapes the bowl and continues to build it up. Both the interior as well as the exterior of the bowl are finished off with a glaze. The thick layer of glaze inside the bowl dries up like the riverbed of an empty stream.

The forms takes shape in a spontaneous process. The drawings Kaat Pauwels makes beforehand act as ideas and lose sketches, inspiring the waves or movements that reappear in her work. Whilst creating, she searches for the bowl or vase’s own balance. Her work therefore is not the result of a deep conceptual search but that of a purified search of the object’s limits without it losing balance.

Not only her creations point to nature. In recent years the designer’s extensive research of natural, non-toxic materials and pigments are evidently applied in her work. The research has not only provided her with a lot of insight and pleasure, it also directed her to the intrinsic beauty of natures’ elements in which she has found her very own, poetic pallet.

The work of Kaat Pauwels calls up to explore, to look in fascination, to discover, to touch and to calm. It gives an aesthetic pleasure which completes the circle, because the pleasure of creating is precisely what drives this ceramist again and again to the clay (Text Bie Luyssaert).