«Fragments of a Reflection, upon my work as a potter and ceramist»
In a letter from Hanaskog (Sweden), dated December 2008, Dansish artist Steen Kepp supplied ‘Fragments of a reflection upon my work as a potter and ceramist’. Born in 1949, Kepp has lived and worked as a ceramist in France, Japan and most recently in Sweden. This text, written in a form of a memoir interspersed with quotations, historical and technical references, bears witness to a voyage of exacting research. Kepp’s work is founded upon innovaitive experiments into woodfiring to which he was initiated during his time in Japan with Takashi Nakazato¹. In 1971 Nakazato contributed to the field of Yakishime firing (Yakishime – meaning to close the clay through heat) with his creation of the Tanegashima (Nanban) method. Kepp’s introduction of Yakishime firing to La Borne in 1978 and subsequent practice continue to have a considerable influence on ceramics in France and more widely on the European ceramic scene.
Citizen of the world of ceramics, cosmopolitan potter, more that being an interpreter, he has become multilingual.
It was while walking through the woods that I began this long conversation with myself, my thoughts and memories of working in pottery and ceramics. That was where I found the words to explain what I am going to talk about here, with, I hope, honesty and sincerity. I ask you to keep this letter; you may choose whether to publish my thoughts or to keep them as useful notes…..
I consider myself to have a role as a ‘carrier and transmitter of knowledge’. I do not look for either originality or inventions. I am a poet. My work has been influenced by my imagination. Ideas or moments of inspirations come to me visually through dreams. I don’t believe in only one incarnation.
Now , it happened that one day he fell asleep and had a dream.
It seemed to him that he was trawelling in the kingdom of Houa-siu.
This country is west of Yen-tcheou, north of Tai-tcheou,
I do not know how far in distance to the country T’si.
One can not go there either by boat or by chariot or on foot,
But only in spirit.
Lao-Tseu (6th–5th century BC).