Thursday, 24 October 2013


Margarete Heyman-Lobenstein-Marks, Tee Service, 1920s in earthenware, Brohan Musuem, Berlin
Eva Stricker-Zeisel, worked in eathenware 1020s -30s
A number of German women potters represented the avant-garde in ceramic design and manufacture in the 1920s. They made design history with their ideas for modern everyday ceramics objects and their determination as female artists in a male dominated culture. Ceramics is often available to women as their male contemporaries are busy with the higher arts. 

Heymann-Marks founded the Hael ceramics workshop near Marwitz, Berlin which was a successful eathernware business exporting internationally. Heymann-Marks was denounced by a colleague in 1933, was forced to sell her workshop and emigrated to Great Britain. She continued to design and make in support of her family but sadly never achieved her former success.

Stricker-Zeisel escaped the Nazi regime where she was working with Emil Nolde's Berlin studio to work in Russia where she became artistic director of the Russian China Porcelain Industry. She was jailed under accusations of plotting against Stalin, moved to Vienna escaping just before the Nazis invaded. She escaped to England before settling in the USA and finally pursuing a long lived creative career in ceramics. 

The Nazis regime shattered so many lives, these are just two stories from the ceramics community. 

This year in Berlin has been named Loss of Diversity Year and around the city are pillars with stories of Jewish, Roman-Sinti, Homosexual, Socialist etc people who were murdered or had to flee Berlin. The Deustcher Museum had an excellent exhibition called Diversity Destroyed where I learnt about the Jewish women potters of Germany. 

We visited Dachau, and were fortunate to have a historian as our group tour guide. Dachau is such an important "living museum" as much of the building infrastructure is still in place to maintain evidence of this history. Guide Kai was quite factual about the Concentration Camps long history, it was the first camp built initially by the Nazis for political prisoners and as a training ground for the SS. He was also took a contemporary view of history, asking many questions of us and himself on the power structures who create history, how is it best to depict horrible histories and how to critic the holocaust in a way that is human and moral. We didn't go the museum as many of the images were too graphic for the boys (and me). It was a heavy, worthy day for us all with lots of conversation that night.
Gate to entry the prisoners compound at Dachau
View across to the role call area
A artwork symbolisng those who suicided on electric fences 

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