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The project received funding because:

Den Danske Keramikfabrik – the 19 owners – have realised that now is the time to take action, and they are doing just that. The factory, founded a few years ago, will focus discussion on the future of art manufacture. The factory will do this by launching local production and, on the basis of this, inviting Nordic colleagues to get involved.

The project reveals the need to make a case for, and put into words why we still need to manufacture art industrially in the Nordic region. If it turns out that the company is financially viable, this local way of manufacturing and the associated dissemination will create a structure, which can also be used in contexts in the field of art manufacture other than ceramic production. Though this is a small, HANDMADE-funded project, it has a potentially huge effect, specifically for anyone involved in ceramic production and in the cultural-political discussion.

About the project:

The Nordic region has a long history of design and ceramic production, but today there are few or no opportunities to manufacture small series industrially in the Nordic region. Den Danske Keramikfabrik was established out of a great desire to change this situation. Den Danske Keramikfabrik believes it is important to preserve craftsmanship and make it possible to manufacture locally and on a small scale, and to be environmentally aware. Otherwise, the knowledge we have accumulated in the Nordic region will disappear with factories closed down or outsourced. Unfortunately, this has already happened to the likes of the Danish companies Royal Copenhagen and Kähler, the Swedish companies Rörstrand and Höganäs, and Finland's Iittala and Arabia.   

Den Danske Keramikfabrik was conceived as a vibrant place where craftsmanship will be preserved and further developed for the benefit of the 19-strong group of owners and the factory's customers. The factory works in networks in which it is not the biggest that wins, but the ones who share their knowledge and resources. By encouraging collaboration across geographic, design, and material boundaries, the factory will start a wave of small manufacturers throughout the Nordic region; manufacturers who will help one another to evolve together and in a variety of local directions.

By opening the factory and offering a venue for cooperation and exchange between the Nordic countries, the factory hopes to restore the heart of art manufacturing:

  • A place where designers can work in depth and develop products in close cooperation with skilled craftsmen. It is not only the design element which is so important to master in the Nordic region, but also the actual manufacturing element and all the technical skill which are naturally associated with it.
  • A wider consciousness among people of local production and a broad discussion about how we manufacture our utility items in the Nordic region.
  • Training. You learn the craft of ceramics by practising it. The factory will initiate discussions with educational institutions with the aim of establishing internships in the factory's model workshop.

The factory hopes to be succeeded by a new generation who will not find that everything is closing down, but can maybe envisage creating new preconditions on the basis of the new challenges that society faces. That in fifty years' time, people will still know how to make a plaster model and mould a cup, or paint a blue-painted dinner service, and that people will no longer find it unreasonable to pay a decent compensation to those doing the Work.

Den Danske Keramikfabrik's ART MANUFACTURE REVIVAL project is all about producing a REVIVAL KIT for information and inspiration. The kit will set out to introduce series-manufactured ceramics - materials and techniques - in a simple way, even for people who have no previous experience of the subject. With the kit as the focal point, the factory's plan is to organise talks and meetings in association with several Nordic trade associations, schools and companies, and to focus discussion on the future of art manufacture.

Nordic collaboration:

Denmark, Sweden, and Norway

The factory is owned by 19 ceramic artists and designers who have joined forces to create a place for ceramic production in Denmark. The 19 members come from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.  

Meetings introducing the REVIVAL kit will be devised and organised in cooperation with:

  • The Danish Crafts and Design Association (DK)
  • Svensk Form, Design Sweden & KHVC (SE)
  • Norske Kunsthåndverkere (NO)
  • Ornamo (FI)

Total budget: 250 000 DKK
Applied for:  110 000 DKK   
Approved grant:  110 000 DKK
Project period: 01.11.2016-31.12.2018

Special pool earmarked for HANDMADE in 2016

This project was supported by a Special pool earmarked for HANDMADE in 2016. Normally, the Fund caps applications at DKK 500,000 and 50% of total project budget, however, HANDMADE 2016 invited projects to apply for amounts ranging from DKK 500,000 to DKK 1 million and up to 85% of total project costs.

The assessment criteria were: HANDMADE aims to promote and stimulate handicrafts and handmade design by encouraging new Nordic and international partnerships and to help raise the visibility and profile of a wide range of handmade art forms and idioms. The spotlight is on projects that:

  • contribute to the development and visibility of handmade design and that focus on free, experimental and conceptual aspects
  • help challenge and break down traditional boundaries for handmade arts, crafts and design
  • include individuals or organisations from other disciplines and artistic genres.

The Fund’s general criteria about Nordic substance, quality, support and impact also applied.

Christina Zetterlund from Sweden and Mari Savio from Finland acted as expert advisors. The Board of the Nordic Culture Fund made the final decision on which projects to fund.

From 2017, HANDMADE will be part of the Fund’s general programmes of project funding and OPSTART. Read more about the programmes under “Apply for funding”.

 Photo: Den Danske Keramikfabrik