Meet Stockholm based ceramic artist Helena going by the artist name Olga Måne. Her striking handcrafts are sharp and determined, yet she leaves it on you to make your own interpretations. Her free spirit weaves effortlessly in her work, where she lets the clay find its own way, without forcing or directing it too much. The result is unique and gripping multipurpose objects. We chat with her about her creative process, the reality of life as a female artist as well as our how or collaboration came about.
Tell us a bit about yourself, when did you start working with ceramics and why?
I was studying Art, Crafts & Design in Småland and was working with pretty much every material except clay. So, when it was time for our annual Internships I choose to go visit Chela Edmunds (Takeawei) in Melbourne to learn about ceramics. And fell in love!
After my year in Småland I stumbled into Erika Petersdotters shop in Södermalm to ask about classes, I ended up staying as her Intern for about a year before I started working only doing my own thing.
Most of your creations are not strictly formed, rather you play a lot with the freedom of shape and form how did this come about?
When I first started working with clay I was practicing a lot on the wheel, which is about forming a perfect circle. I was fighting the clay and started feeling as if all my energy went to repeating the same process over and over, instead of it having a creative outlet.
So, I thought, instead of fighting the clay, why don't I follow it? I started working completely without a gameplan and found out that the clay always has an idea of where to go. I found it totally intriguing just going with it and letting each session be a surprise. I call it intuitive sculpting, just allowing a conversation with the clay as opposed to forcing it into a mold!
I love your "Pot Heads" Can you tell us a bit about them?
The first Pothead was born about a year ago. My parents have this really kitschy eighties pot at home, that was shaped as a realistic pretty head, and I have always loved it. So, I kind of took that idea (from my subconscious) and made my own weird version.
The faces started to come out resembling ex-lovers of mine, so I started calling the collection ”All my lovers were Potheads”, which is not, not true.
What do you believe is missing in the conversation around creative female entrepreneurship?
Just bloody taking up space! I feel that with clay especially, which is seen as one of the more feminine crafts. Every time there is a big exhibition, a huge commission etc, it's for a male ceramicist whilst the women are left to open cute ceramics shops, hold classes and just keep making plates with flowers on. I mean, yes, keep doing that if you want BUT, with the opportunity to make a huge ass plate with flowers on and show it at Moderna.
So, I think what is missing is to dare to take up space and to say ”this is what I do, it's bloody fantastic and it deserves to be seen”.
Where do you turn to for inspiration?
Man, this sounds so cheesy, but life inspires me. A moment, a spilled glass of milk, a fight, you get the idea. I have more ideas than time (which is probably good, as some ideas are ridiculous). So to put it short, the inspiration comes from taking the time to see.
What does creativity mean to you? And how do you see its role in helping us create a better future?
Creativity is a fundamental part of us, either way, it comes out. When our fundamental needs are being filled, we become more fulfilled. I think its as simple as that.
We just need to give more time and importance to our creative sides so they can come out and play. People often underestimate this and don't take creativity seriously. There are so many opportunities to be rising if creativity is allowed to be more important.
How did the collaboration with Bare Origin come about and why did you want for us to work together? :-)
I met Nena at a market at Södermalm about a year ago, she came up to me and a colleague to check if we could lend some props for the shoot of her book. And hearing about Bare Origin I definitely wanted to be a part of it (also have a weak spot for skincare in my heart).
The first time I tried out her products (the Rose Argan oil) I was hooked! I have not been talking about any skincare product in my life as much as about this oil. I always felt I had to add that I didn't work for Nena as I always get so damn excited when I talk about this and convince them to try one of the ones I'm carrying at the moment.
So, when her book was done I contacted Nena and asked if she would be into doing a collaboration with me, and lucky enough, she was.
Although, the fact that Bare Origin is run by this force of power of a woman that Nena is, is actually my number one reason for wanting to be a part of the vibe she is creating.