Artisans Stories

In Conversation With Ceramicist and Graphic Designer Karina Klages | Artisans Stories

In Conversation With Ceramicist and Graphic Designer Karina Klages | Artisans Stories

Ceramicist Karina Klages’ creative journey started early - quite literally. One of Karina’s earliest memories was waking up at 5am each day and drawing at her kitchen table.

“Regarding my childhood there were lovely moments when I worked with clay, especially memories of certain holiday times and places. Growing up I did not find the possibility to work with clay, because of different life circumstances and forget to think about it. Clay came back to me literally in the right time of my life and from that day on doors opened in a new way.”

“The love of making and arts in general has never let go of me. Art always was my favourite course in school and I made internships/jobs in fashion design, photography, print design and goldsmithing.”

“My sense of beauty and my strong passion for aesthetics and everything visual led me to the University of Hannover (Germany), where I completed my graphic design studies in 2008. Creativity in many forms is part of my life, like the air I breathe.

"A few years ago a graphic design job for a tea label linked me to Japanese green tea.”

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Exploring Nature In The 'Slow Lane'

Having been a photographer in the past, and now using photography daily as part of her work, Karina recognises that using various different mediums simultaneously has enhanced and enriched her practice.

“I don’t see myself as a photographer, but from the perspective of an artist, I can use every medium to draw bridges between different materials. So pictures can sing melodies of ceramic arts for example. I love to bring mediums together. Every art is so rich in emotions and so they can deeply inspire one another.”

Karina has another beautiful Instagram account @magicinexpanse, (alongside @karinaklagesceramics) where she shares her exploration of the great outdoors in ‘the slow lane’, and captures her photos on 35mm Film.

Karina chooses this slow and methodical process over instantaneous digital as it encourages her to focus on the moment and embrace the often unexpected results of film.

“For me film photography is the more real stuff. I love the organic structure and grain. The film material tells about another depth than digital photography does."

"While digital photography always was a fast medium to me (many clicks, knowing that you can choose the best frame afterwards and also being able to edit literally everything), the analog photography slows down the whole process. I only have 36 negatives on the film and I don’t want to waste any of it."

"Taking pictures analog is more a conceptual work to me, thinking about the right camera settings, motive and frame. And at the same time, I can work more creatively, with light leaks for example. You never know how the picture turns out after the film development, there is always surprise and joy. I really love this process!"

"I capture my ceramic artwork on film and I also love to take my camera with me into the wilderness. Just for the love of film and to make memories. I collect moments as a personal film diary and as a source of inspiration.”

Rediscovering A Love For Ceramics

From her kitchen table to art school and various design jobs, Karina never lost interest in pursuing a creative life. Although it wasn’t until Karina sought a rest bite from working in front of a screen, that she rediscovered her love of clay.

“A little later, in 2017, I looked for an artistic, manual balance to my computer work and then started working with clay. Here ceramics and tea suddenly seemed to flow together and entered into a symbiosis for my work. I am highly fascinated by producing tea ceramics but also wanted to work bigger and more sculptural in the future.”

“Clay came back to me literally in the right time of my life and from that day on doors opened in a new way. I learned so many new things, found a possibility to fire my work - and sometime later I got my own kiln. Clay draws me to new creativity and freedom to make art. I’m still learning and developing every day.”

The Mindful Process Of Working With Clay

Karina has a wonderfully philosophical approach to using this ancient process and working with clay.

“It is a great privilege to be able to work with a raw material from this earth. Clay is a weathered layer of rock that is taken from the ground. It is a product of the past, will be processed by me in the present and will survive as a fired vessel in the future. That is why it is very important to handle this material mindfully. The clay goes through many processes and this abundance of changes/adaptations also embodies the philosophy of Wabi-Sabi for me.”

“I try to incorporate this form of aesthetics into my work. I love to leave rough surfaces unglazed in order to allow the vessel to age and to build a patina. I want to transport a beauty that can also be found in secret. A silent beauty.”

We asked Karina what inspires her designs and creative philosophy.

“This can be literally everything. From rawness/roughness of nature, to a special music sound, a dance, a poem or other artistic details. I think my inspiration often grows out of a form of imperfection and melancholia/nostalgia."


"Over the years I noticed processes of waves“ in my inspiration. In a specific time of my life (maybe over some weeks or months) I hear a specific sound of music, or I’m doing a research on a specific topic, what frees my mind. And from this point on, creativity flows.”

Karina adds that creativity cannot be forced.

“Rest is also important. If there are times in lack of ideas, I just be gentle with myself. Going for walks or take a pause - and so new ideas can grow naturally.”

Looking forward, with so much uncertain, Karina points out that creativity must not be overlooked as a way to resolve earth’s biggest issues. Everyone has a part to play.

“For the next generations it will be more important than ever to think differently. We need many creative ideas to solve the world’s problems. Whether if you are an artist, a gardener, a child carer or an engineer, please free your mind wildly, think big, think out of old systems and boxes - every form of creativity is needed.”


Karina’s Advice For Other Creatives:

  • "Many creatives and makers are sensitive and sensual persons. They often have the right inner sense to what they belong to and what is important for their lives, but they also struggle and doubt with their ideas. Even though if your environment or the society don’t accept what you do/feel/create, do it anyway."
  • "Artists often sense something that has to be created, that the society does not (yet) understand. Artists have the ability to peek into the true nature of reality and pose questions that may seem irrelevant at the time. Keep this in mind - and do it anyway. I hope and pray you can build a secure environment around you where you can create in a free, safe and unbiased way."
  • "If you have the possibility to join workshops, an art school or a university, this will give you a great, massive learning. Find art, people, moments, music or nature - everything what inspires you - and learn from every detail."
  • "Do what you love and do it often. The longer you learn/repeat, the better you get. And the most important and liberating thing is: You don’t have to be someone else - you just have to be YOU. What you are searching for is already in you. :-)"
  • "Trust that everything what happens, will come to you in the right time (wisdom, creativity, learning, development or money for materials and other steps). I wish you freedom to create in every minute, to get to your own voice of art and to build a new creation."

You can find more of Karina's work on her website here!

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