T H E  WO R L D  O F  A N O U K 

Anouk Kramer is best known for her rustic pottery with its subtle golden lining but also for her richly decorated tulip vases, unmistakably of Dutch provenance. ‘I find it so funny that all I need to make people happy is a lump of clay and my old shed!’ Since 1995, she is making potterie.

Spijkerboor, Noord-Holland. Here, in an old farmhouse at the end of the world, ceramist Anouk Kramer lives with her family: her husband, three daughters and all her animals. I find her in her studio, effectively an old shed behind the farmhouse. Her work lines the shelves along the walls, some of it still drying, other pieces complete. There’s no such thing as climate control in here — dry weather makes a different plate than humid weather. She sweeps a table clean, throws a log on the fire and asks her eldest daughter to make us some tea. Her hands and apron are covered in clay and she looks straight at me with her clear eyes. She has a sort of purity common to Scandinavian women.

‘I’m not someone who needs to be constantly fed by the city’s impulses’Where does she find her inspiration? ‘The outdoors just as much as the city. The idea that I can go to town to visit a museum and then return to these fields. 
Being out here means taking care of the animals, boating on the ditches that run between the meadows and hunting with her family. ‘I find inspiration in hunting. I like how complete the story is: you clean and eat the animal you shoot. It’s as simple as it gets. The rustic tea cups, bowls and plates with a golden rim. All black clay, white glaze and perfect in their imperfection. No plate is like the other. ‘I like to give beauty to everyday objects.

There’s a lot of love in my work. In every cup and plate

My clients are also a source of inspiration when they come to me with their ideas. There’s a lot of love in my work. In every cup and plate. I hope people feel that, that they feel me’. Being in the moment, seeing beauty in the details plus a healthy dose of perspective and humour: it all seems so easy for her. ‘ a woman who wanted me to make her a collection of big tea mugs — something I don’t really like because I prefer things to be elegant. But I worked on it and found that if I made the handles really small, you still had to hold this big cup in a dainty way. Sometimes people come to me and say, “I can’t get my fingers through the handle.” Well, that’s exactly the point.

Over the last years she has turned her hand to eloborate art pieces collaborating with Bibi van der velden on a series entitled  ‘Necklace On A Grand Scale’. Bibi & Anouk have a very natural way of working together.

She also has more commercial line, Anouk for &K, based on the idea that her work should be accessible for everyone.

Words Stephanie Pander

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