My new home, amazing studio space, cool friends and dinners to die for

Posted by on Jan 12, 2013 in Travel | 16 comments

Friday 11 January 2013

Well it’s the end of my first week (of 6 weeks) at Guldagergaard, International Ceramic Research Center located in Skælskør.  Don’t even ask how to pronounce the names as we have all attempted and only the Danes say it the best!

This is my studio space overlooking part of the Sculpture Park, which surrounds the center and suburbia houses surround the park. I was lucky to meet Priscilla, one of the founding members on Monday and say how we have nothing like this back at home.  I have since found out that this Center is very unique and how lucky we are to have such a beautiful house to live in and high quality studios to work in.

I arrived @6pm Wednesday night (3 January) and was entertained by a local madmen in the dark as he sang and said weird stuff.  Then suddenly these loud bangs went off and I’m like terrified he’s got a shotgun.  I remained calm and thankfully Rachel turns up on her cute bicycle all dressed up in her winter woollies.  As we went up the streets the ‘bangs’ turned out to be firecrackers!  What a dill!  I was shown my room (#5) and told to come down for dinner when I was ready.  I put my gear down as keen to meet the others.  I met Paige, Lee and Ryan – all from the USA – and we got on well.  I really liked Paige and thought she seems so cool and my instinct was right – she’s funny, cool and down to earth.  The others started to arrive and slowly I try to remember names.  It is a great night and I feel like I’ve settled in well.  We are told to have the next day to ourselves and Rachel and I meet @ 11am as she takes me on a separate orientation tour of the house, the library, washing facilities, the clay room (the biggest I’ve ever seen), the Apple Orchard Gallery and then finally the beast of them all – the massive stables which have now been converted into studios.

There is a plaster room, a kiln room in between 2 large studio spaces, a proper glaze room – all the materials (and it takes me back to Australian National University School of Art’s ceramic workshop – which I miss) and a back room with ware boards & stuff. There is an upstairs area but that is still undergoing renovations.

I go grocery shopping with a few of the artists and I’m so glad I bought my Danish phrase book as it helps me (and the others) to figure out what we are buying.  Everything looks expensive as I can’t remember the conversion and I limit my purchases. As it turns out a weeks worth of lunch and breakfast is ½ the price it cost me for a Starbucks coffee/small sandwich/takeaway lidded thermos at the Copenhagen Airport!

From Friday through to today I work at the studios as conscious about how many firings I need to do in such a short time. Six weeks isn’t long enough and I wish I had 8 weeks.  I am working with 2 low fired clays – Yellow brick and Black – as this is new and totally the opposite to porcelain.  I’ve also chosen 3 high-fired clays – Cerama White 444, Royal Copenhagen and Limoges (the latter 2 are crème de la crème and also expensive – but Adam is paying for it as he says I may never work with them again).

So far, I’ve been happy with my test tiles, screen printing and stamping.  I’ve worked out one possible exhibition layout and have another one in mind.  But again, time is of the essence so I must keep it simple.

Finally, the group dinners need to be seen to believe just how amazing they are.  Everyone is rostered on once a week and pair up to cook anywhere from 14 to 19 residents. Rachel and Egla raised the bar with their welcoming meal and everyone has been leaping to match the good food.  I hardly eat anything during the day so I can save up for dinner and we usually all have seconds!

I’ve managed to do some shopping and contribute thoughtfully to the economy of Skælskør (any excuse to explain how much I’ve spent so far ;).  But seriously, I do feel its great to be able to come to a small town who can’t rely on tourism solely and still be able to provide small businesses along the quaint cobbled stone main street Algade.  I’ve purchased rain boots, raincoat, jumper, ceramic brooch and a few other little trinkets and feel glad that I’ve been able to support locally.  The best thing is there are no shopping malls in sight!  Gotta love that!

Well I’ll sign off as I did have some extra photos to put in this story but it could have helped if I had put the memory card in the camera!  I totally forgot, as I was eager beaver to download photos.  Ah well! shall try again tomorrow and hope for the same beautiful sunset I saw at 4pm this afternoon. The next posting will be about my ceramic work and its progress.


  1. Sounds fantastic Annie, V proud of you already and bloody envious to boot! much love E

    • Thanks Erin, Just think one day you can do this when Cinnamon is older and busy doing her stuff. I highly recommend coming here. Its way better than I realised and highly regarded in Europe. I’ll even come back with you! Now that’s an idea 😉

  2. It all looks so lovely, may inspiration for your art come in bucket-loads! Meredith

    • Thanks Meredith, yes keep wishing bucket loads of ideas/successful firings and forms…I still have a long way to go but very excited with the test results that came out tonight and narrowing down my selection of clay and other techniques.

  3. It looks wonderful. But… but… where’s the snow? 🙂

    Can’t wait to see some sneak-peek photos of what you’re working on!

    • Thanks Trish…yes, where is the snow?? We had a light smattering of snow o/night – it was only -5 so not enough to snow. We might get some later this week but hard to know. Yes, sneak peek of photos in next posting – in a weeks time.

  4. Again a great read. You have settled in well and are obviously enjoying your time at the studio. How wonderful to have such a lovely place to be working in. Loved the photos you have sent and look forward to hearing the next episode of your experiences. How on earth are you going to bring back all of your purchases??? Hope you are still receiving our emails. I sent one off to-day, Sat. 12th. It is 10.00pm here and we are just about to head off to bed. As mentioned in my email today we have had another very hot day but when I took Miami out for his nightly visit to the grass it has cooled off nicely. 38deg today, 28 tomorrow but warming up again next week. Dad is ready to read your email so I will close with much love to you. Mum XX
    Hello Anne. Good to read your mail. You are having a great time it seems. Very hot here with record temperatures being recorded. We have had the longest and hottest spell since the 60’s and the climatologists say that it will only get worse. Comforting? We had an interesting time with Miami the other night. He was asleep on the floor and was obviously dreaming. His little legs were going and he was giving little “yelps”. They were reasonably loud though not enough to wake himself. He jumps up on to Mum’s chair fairly well – only fallen back a few times!!! He seems to have a bit of life yet. Hope all goes well with your firings. Hopefully you will be able to bring back some examples of your work. Off to bed now. look forward to your next blogs.
    Love, Dad.

    • Hi Mum and Dad, thanks for your emails and responses to my blog. It really does keep the homesickness at bay 🙂 Yes, Miami does these funny yelps and ticks – he is usually dreaming and can’t hear himself so its quite funny to watch. Yes, there is still life in him and when he wants to be on your lap he’ll make sure he can get up! I’ve been watching the weather on BOM and the ABC news and so relieved I’m not there now. I’m the complete opposite – we are having 5 during the day although today must have only been 1 as it was bitterly cold and had snowed o/night but only a light dusting. We are getting down to -5 during the night. I had a revelation this evening when working on my pieces and have been able to incorporate what Canberra is going through and show parallels between Canberra today and 100 years ago when Walter and Marion had visions of the future of a new city. Its been a good day and my 2nd firing came out this afternoon with some varying results – but getting closer to what I think the actual work will look like. I’m also closer to my form and will need to make a model tomorrow and then make a slump mould. I’ll do another posting with explanations and visuals as its hard to imagine what I’m talking about. Anyway, dinner is not too far away and I must change and freshen up. Love to all 3 xxx

  5. Hi Annie. I am so glad it’s all going so well and can’t wait to see your work. I have been reading your blog and thinking about you. Enjoy….and keep the updates coming, it has been lovely to hear all your stories. Take care darling. Much love Sarah xx

    • Hi Sare, I’m glad you are enjoying the blog. Its been so much fun writing and taking photos of the center and the town. Its a quaint little town and I’m already falling in love with the idea of living in Denmark. Hope you had a great holiday away with the fam xx

  6. So happy and excited for you, Quinnus. Also can’t wait to see what you’re working on. Keep on enjoying your heart out, my friend.
    Cher xx

    • Hi Cher, so good to hear from you. Its 5.40am in the morning and I can’t sleep. I’ve had a lot of problem sleeping and have had only 2 mornings where I’ve slept in since arriving at the center. I’m beginning to think its partial insommia. But who cares as I looked out the window and it has snowed all night and thick as!! Yeah! I can’t wait to get out there and play. We’ve all been secretly hoping for snow and its finally come true.

  7. Anne,great to see you settled- thought from photos it seems food and fantastic -but not much “mess” in your v.nice studio.Good luck and continue the hard work,albeit “too”short a time you will achieve much experience.Cheers

    • Thanks Brian. My studio did get messy and then we were told a journalist was coming so we all hot-footed it and try to tidy up but still look like we were busy 😉 Yes, 6 weeks is not long enough…but admittedly I’m a little homesick and the distance is being felt greater than I expected. But as my husband says “Harden up princess” 🙂

  8. Hi Anne

    Lovely to hear from you and see all the inspiring photos!
    Wish i was there!
    It has been rather hot here – pver 45 degrees last friday!

    All the best


    • Thanks Penny, I have to admit I’m kinda glad I’m here. I’m not good with the heat. But geez, -15 overnight and -10 during the day…its been really different experiencing a winter in Denmark. I went for a walk with the girls yesterday and this time layered up like Michelin woman! Take care, Anne

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