Sweden’s Master Potter, Berndt Friberg

It’s been a little while since I’ve found some pottery that’s really inspired me, this morning though I was lucky enough to stumble across Swedish artist Berndt Friberg. He had a few nicknames in his time but he was usually called “Hand of God” amongst other potters and his circle of friends, he was known for being a perfectionist and did not keep pieces which were not to his satisfaction.

Friberg was born to a family of potters and started his career at a young age, it was pretty much written in stone that he would follow the same path. He spent his early stages working at Höganäs pottery, situated in a small mill town where the clay is perfect for stoneware making and pottery. From 1944 onwards he was employed as a thrower to Wilhelm Kåge and Stig Lindberg at Gustavsberg’s pottery, both of these artists had a massive impact on Swedish ceramics and its future. This specific workshop was created by Wilhelm as a platform for artists to independently create unique ceramic art ware, a perfect place for Berndt Friberg to set up shop and make objects freely.

What’s so amazing about Berndt is that he never got any one else to throw his pieces, he did it all by hand one at a time and refused that anyone else would do it under his name. He was particularly inspired by traditional Chinese and Japanese works, the glazes were where Friberg ended up excelling, he painstakingly applied these finishes to achieve great structure and depth. Something that’s rare to see in this current day.

In my eyes when you look at his pieces you’re really blown away by the detail and the simplicity of the items, very much serve a function but are also beautiful on the eye. Like I said above, the work on the glazing must have been extraordinary to see. To apply with such precision isn’t easy at all. I would also recommend checking out the Berndt Friberg’s miniatures, you can see a couple above and below, they’re really something special and are some of the best works I’ve seen in this category. He really was the “Hand of God”.

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