Selected PROJECTS, RESIDENCES, EXHIBITIONS & WORKSHOPS
2020 Earth-dialogue exhibition in New Zealand
Maarit Mäkelä’s ‘Earth-dialogue’ exhibition was on displayed in Waiheke Community Art Gallery, New Zealand 24.1.-1.3.2020. The exhibition is based on the creative process that took place in year 2015 when she lived and worked in Waiheke. The core of Mäkelä’s artistic practice is the local, natural environment and in particular earth samples she gathers during her walks. These materials are processed further and then used as clay body for the works, and as coloured slips for the paintings. At 1060°C the paintings that are made to clay transforms into ceramic. The exhibition consists of paintings on clay and paper, and documentary photographs of local places and materials she encountered during her walks to collect materials. Earth-dialogue also contains samples of sand, stone and clay.
2018–2019 Traces from the Anthropocene: Working with Soil, Venice, Italy
In this research craft making is understood as a philosophical space that enables us to think through the ethical and ecological concerns related to the stage of our environment. We aim to explore the human imprint to the geological environment with artistic methods combined with chemical analysis. The project builds on a collaboration between artist-researchers from Empirica research group of Aalto University’s Department of Design, and the experts of contaminated soil from the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, as well as visiting researchers and artists. The project proceeds in a form of a research laboratory that takes place at the Research Pavilion #3 hosted by University of the Arts Helsinki, in the context of Venice Biennale in summer 2019.
Final works from Traces from the Anthropocene: Working with Soil
Soil samples were gathered and processed by Riikka Latva-Somppi & Maarit Mäkelä, and sediment by Riikka Latva-Somppi & Pauliina Purhonen & Tzuyu Chen.
2014–2018 Ceramics and its Dimensions: Shaping the Future, Europe
The international Ceramics and its Dimensions project focused on ceramics in Europe from the perspective of the past as well as the future with its new possibilities. Maarit Mäkelä led one of the sub-projects called Shaping the Future which consisted of a workshop, a touring exhibition and a publication. In the project, there were partners from eleven different countries in Europe and the project was partly funded by the Creative Europe programme of the EU. The project applies for funding for a continuation.
2018 2nd International Black Pottery Symposium, The Museu la Terrissa de Quart, Spain
2nd International Black Pottery Symposium, The Museu la Terrissa de Quart, Spain
The second Black Ceramics symposium was organized in Quart, Museu de la Terrissa de Quart, Spain, 17-28.9.2018. The symposium gathered together ten artists from Spain, Ireland, Norway and Finland. During the symposium we worked in the museum by using local earthenware. Quart is famous for its traditional black firing technique, and the first works were fired already during the symposium. The firing took place in the kiln that was located in the museum site, and it was conducted together with the local craftsman. The two big vases I built and painted during the workshop are now fired, and they will be exhibited in the museum 29.6.-28.7.2019.
2018 International ceramics symposium ‘Dialogue’, Zvartava castle, Latvia
Firing the kiln at the Zvartava castle in Latvia.
The two weeks ceramics symposium, hosted by The Art Academy of Latvia, gathered together twenty-five artists from ten countries: Latvia, Turkey, Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, UK, Russia, Belorussia, Moldova and Finland. During the symposium at the beautiful old Zvartava castle we created works from porcelain and stoneware. In the end of the symposium the works were fired in two big wood kilns. Selected works were exhibited in the castle during summer 2018 and will remain as part of the castle’s permanent art collection.
2013–2016 Handling Mind, Finland
This multidisciplinary research project focused on both the embodied learning that occurs in relation to creativity and design as well as on their neural mechanisms. The project combined approaches from neuroscience, psychology, design and educational science for research on embodied thinking and creativity. The goal of the study was to open up an entirely new neuro- scientific research tradition focusing on processes of art, crafts and design.
2016 1st International black pottery Symposium, The Museu la Terrissa de Quart, Spain
The first Black Ceramics symposium was organized in Quart, Museu de la Terrissa de Quart, Spain, 4-16.7.2016. The village is famous for its traditional firing technique that makes the pieces black. During the workshop I coiled two vases from the local clay. The forms functioned as canvases for images that I made by scratching the leather hard clay with a wooden stick. After that the images were painted with terra sigillatas on the top of the drawings. Finally, the images were partly polished. The treatment created on the vases different tones and structures that are still visible after the works have gone through black firing. The images got their inspiration from the wooden Madonna sculpture I encountered in the Museum d’Art, Girona and tapestry I saw in the Girona Cathedral. The vases, Catharina Negra I and II, were part of a touring exhibition that was displayed in five places in Catalonia, Spain: Quart, Barcelona, La Galera, Vilafranca and Girona.
2015 Artist in Residence, University of Tasmania, Tasmanian College of Arts, Hobart, Australia
In the beginning of 2015, I spent two months as an artist in residence at the University of Tasmania, the College of Arts. The core of my artistic practice was the local natural environment, in particularly the earth samples I gathered during my walks. The process continued in my studio, which was situated in an abandoned ceramic workshop that belongs to the Hobart College. With a mortar and water I transformed the local stones and sand into liquids that I used in my paintings. I began my practice initially by following two avenues, one being material experiments and the other drawing and painting. As these practices proceeded, the two avenues finally encountered and melded into one another, resulting in a diversity of outcomes: earth paintings on paper; paintings on Southern Ice porcelain; earth paintings in combination with lithography printing.
2010 The 46th International Sculpture and Ceramic Symposium, Boleslaviec, Poland
The 46th International Sculpture and Ceramic Symposium gathered together fifteen artists from five different countries. Called as ‘the place of ceramics’, Boleslawiec’s clay sources are good and thus the city has tens of ceramics factories. During the symposium, the artists worked in three of these factories. I worked in ‘the pipe factory’, which has been operating already before the second world war. I worked with the clay which the factory workers use for building huge pipes. The structure of the clay is suitable for big forms, and I decided to coil as big bowls as I could – seeking the balance between material, technique and aesthetically pleasing form. These bowls served as a canvas for my paintings. The images were my interpretations of the works of British ‘modern Pre-Raphaelite’ painter J.W. Waterhouse (1849-1917). The Inspiration in the above work has been his painting ‘Echo and Narcissus’ (1903).
2009 Clay and the Collective Body, IHME Project, Helsinki, Finland
The first IHME Project by Pro Arte Foundation Finland, was conceived by the British sculptor Antony Gormley and entitled Clay and the Collective Body. Over 1300 people participated in transforming the core of the artwork, a huge clay cube, into thousands of different-sized clay sculptures. As a result of the transformation of the clay, a new world was born inside a warm and humid inflatable dome. I worked in the project as a counselor-supervisor and also took part in the test-weekend alredy in 2008, during which the idea of the project was tested and developed.
2008 FuLe residence programme, Fuping, China
In March 2008, ten Finnish ceramic artists participated in the FuLe residence program in the city of Fuping, China. The program has been set up by the family company which has been producing roof tiles for more than twenty years. During the last decade, an ambitious building project has taken place in the area, and at the moment many countries and contents have their own museum for exhibiting contemporary ceramics. The collections of the museums are based on the works done by the international artists who work in the factory by using local resources and materials. Our team established a permanent Finnish collection to the Scandinavian Contemporary Ceramics museum.