10 Things That Make This Danish Ceramist Happy
The list includes 10-inch-tall glass owls.
Published Oct 24, 2019 12:00 AM
Welcome to 10 Things, where we ask our favorite creatives and tastemakers to share what brings joy to their lives (because it might enhance yours, too).
The ceramics have eyes. Scrolling through Studio Arhoj’s website is like looking at a database of pets up for adoption: Each carefully constructed piece is its own little creature, and you have no choice but to want to take one home. Some feature gradient paint dripping down their sides, some look like tiny blobs, and some are winking at you. In a world of objets and status ceramics, this whimsical approach is refreshing—and it’s the brainchild of Danish creative Anders Arhoj.
Previously a graphic designer focused on magazine illustrations and children’s books (where he started developing his playful designs), Arhoj first came up with the idea for his company in 2005, during a year spent in Tokyo studying Japanese design. “When I ran into a ceramist at a party back in Denmark, I started to learn and study the process of executing my characters in clay instead of on a screen,” he says. A year later, Studio Arhoj was born.
These days, Arhoj finds inspiration by walking through museums and libraries, looking at what people did 200 or even 40 years ago instead of scouring Instagram. (His latest glaze color, vermilion, which debuted this month, got its name from a historic color used in ancient Rome and medieval Europe.) A combination of these references from the past and his fresh eye, Arhoj’s rainbow-colored array of pieces certainly bring a smile. In turn, here’s what makes the Danish ceramist happy:
The Pieces That Started It All
I collect old Japanese ceramics and have a hard time not going crazy at antiques store Kuroda Touen in Ginza, Tokyo. It presents an extremely exquisite collection of hard-to-find treasures. It’s going to cost you, but the pieces are real artifacts and always worth owning, in my view.
The Controversial Playlist
Steve Reich is my all-time favorite composer. To me, his 1970s New York minimalism is the epitome of constructing something that’s both simple and extremely complicated. When you put his music on, people either say, “Oh, this is so gorgeous” or “This makes me insane; please stop right now.” I love this live recording with the Alarm Will Sound Orchestra.
The Sweet Souvenir
Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia is my favorite ice cream flavor, which unfortunately has been taken out of production in Denmark, so I always eat as much as possible when traveling!
The Ceramics Inspo
An Expansive Vision, a movie about potter Randy Johnston, is pure heaven. I can watch pottery videos on YouTube all day long, and there’s some real gold if you dig deep enough.
The Graphic Artwork
I’m collecting objects for a huge gallery wall in my living room—all neutrals, browns, and whites. I think this vintage poster would fit nicely.
The Aspirational Architecture
John Lautner’s architecture is forever a salute to the psychedelic dreams of man. His luxurious escapes, with an organic, space-age look, are my all-time ideal homes.
The Wish-List Chairs
For my apartment, I want to buy all my furniture at this place we sell our ceramics to in Chicago, Dial M for Modern.
The Nod to His Past
I used to work as a graphic illustrator before I found ceramics; now and then I still do a few projects outside the studio if possible. My newest book, Catch Me, can be read from both sides and features a dog-and-cat chase through 10 psychedelic worlds.
The Cultural Excursion
It’s great fun to dig into the past and learn that our ancestors were just as smart (and stupid) as our present generation. I especially love exploring the cultural sections of our own Danish National Museum, which feature items from faraway cultures and forgotten empires.
The Forever Pet
The glass birds and owls from Finnish brand Iittala are always on my wish list.