Erna Aaltonen

  • works
  • bio

Erna Aaltonen’s captivating vessels are built by hand from thinly rolled, ribbon-like strips of clay that are joined edge to edge. The round sculptural forms are central to her work.

As Erna notes “it is the hand-building that gives the works its quiet liveliness. The same way a human face is lively; although the two sides of the face seem similar they in fact are never exactly alike.”
Aaltonen continues: “I have always been fascinated by ceramic vessels and their importance for the human culture, particularly in a historical context.”

The openings of the vases preserve the connection with the interior, at the same time it refers to the form being the inspiration for the design. It is also an important visual element as through it the pieces are breathing.

Aaltonen has developed very distinctive techniques to treat the surfaces of her creations. After scratching the surface carefully, countless layers of clay slip are added to the works of art with a brush. The result is a fine pattern that looks very much like it would have been growing in nature. Erna’s signature color combinations – that she developed in many years of practice through the exploration of the interaction of color, design and light – are mesmerizing.

Erna Aaltonen was born in Finland in 1951 and currently lives and works in Fiskars village an artists’ colony near Helsinki. She graduated from the prestigious Kuopio Design Academy and is the recipient of several international awards.

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