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A key part of CLIB KLAP’s ceramic production process is the development of glazes — and a single project may require up to 100 tiny samples in the quest for the right color and texture. To minimize waste, the duo has developed a narrow, cylindrical vase that requires very little glaze. Each vase is dipped in two glazes, offering a practical use for remaining glazes that would otherwise wind up as chemical waste. All the vases are one-offs and carry a unique number at the bottom.
Claire Maria Lehmann and Iben Harboe, both educated at Denmark’s Design School, have worked together since 2003, in each of their own separate workshops. Their process is extremely collaborative, favoring discussion in the service of development: they begin each project by assessing the essentials of the product to be created. During production, emphasis is placed on the materials and the handicraft of every piece; variations and imperfections are fundamental to the work of Clib Klap, as the designers believe that the tradition of ceramics is anchored in the raw, organic nature of material — they strive to underline the word “handmade.\"
The body of work in this collection consists of pieces by Greek designers of the mainland and the diaspora, or international professionals who live and work in Greece. As a common theme we tackle the elusive notion of “Greekness” and how this transpires through the work of seemingly diverse and distinct individuals. In our attempt to define “Greekness”, we aim to raise questions about how this plays out in the work presented.
How do Greek designers view their identity? Is it through their effort to decipher their heavy heritage? Is form important in order to achieve a predisposed classic elegance, or is a philosophical disposition towards shape more poignant? Could it be simply a resourcefulness and DIY ethic to make up for the absence of design infrastructure?
How do Greek designers based abroad deal with their background? Could it be that they simply ignore it in order to finally free themselves? Is there a certain amount of innovation necessary in order to channel it into the new environment?
Finally, how do foreign designers see their work influenced by their Greek surroundings? Is it the reference through the use of noble materials such as marble or the abundance of natural light that makes their work unquestionably Greek? Or could it be something else they were seeking when they decided to move here, something abstract like humour or drama? Could their arrival finally mean a departure from Greek heritage’s self-reference?
The pieces that we present might seem ill-matched, but they share an important core element. They are confident in their narrative of a personal story of identity, that is either at peace or against the Greek archetype. Through this communication, they all describe a culturally mature and vibrant scene that is finally extroverted and coming of age.
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