Néma Júlia

nema_julia-1-274x412“Fire roared inside the kiln. Working in pairs, we changed each other every six hours, but even in this way we were dead tired. For three days we stoked the firewood into Olsen’s anagama kiln. The wood firing needs endurance, skill and experience. You need to know, even to read the fire. It is not only art, but real craft as well.”



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“I studied the high-fire lumber firing in Japan and in the US, learning the most from Frederick L. Olsen. Even my own kiln was constructed by his practice. Since this procedure is unusual here, I teach it at the university (Moholy University of Arts), writing also a book on it.”

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High-fire ceramics were produced in the Far East first. The porcelain and the stoneware can withstand the heat of more than 1300 centigrade. Those taking care of burning the porcelain spotlessly clean put the objects into saggars (ceramic boxes). If the object is inside the kiln freely, to be marked by the traces of fire, the flying ash forms a greenish glaze on it. Firing in kilns, natural ash glaze was intentionally applied for decorating in Japan first.

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This firing method, allowing broad possibilities in decoration, infiltrated step by step into the Western art. Who creating an object of natural ash glaze composes inside the kiln, painting with flames. As we stock the objects up, down, side by side, surfaces are partially covered from the flames, so photogrammetic spots are formed.

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“While gas-fired furnace is firing the porcelain under controlled conditions, inside the wood-fired anagama kiln the situation is harder. Burning logs are falling, the flying ash gradually forms a thick, coarse layer on the objects placed in the kiln, at the upper zone the ash is melting on the surface of the vessels, while the flames mercilessly lick the originally snow-white porcelain. “

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“Since this type of burning contains a lot of eventuality, it especially attracts artists who want to handle the material freely. My stringency originates in the constructivist traditions of the Central Europe. I succeeded to acquire my fundamentals in a media, which determined my worldview. Perhaps this is the reason why it is exciting that I work with this technique. “

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“I like the extremes. I use the thin porcelain sheets as panes, constructing geometric objects of precise fits, which is unusual in the world of wood firing. “

“The brutal forces of the kiln animate the delicate, fragile structures. Fine touching when constructing, then orienting towards the flames the movements and colours of my constructions can be affected. But the final result is always unpredictable.”

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“In this country there are few who makes porcelain by throwing on potter’s wheel, the bulk is made by slipcasting. The raw porcelain material mixed with paper pulp is strong enough; it is easier to work with. I made the 14-piece set of my Calvary as well as my embossments of paper-porcelain. If I want to maintain the cleanness and whiteness of the porcelain, I use gas kiln. If I want a more colorful, vivid object, I fire it in my high-fire kiln. “

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“Cooperation was launched with the chef and maitre d’ of the Olympic restaurant. I produced organic-surface plates by natural ash glaze, which is totally unusual in the domestic gastronomy. “


It is really great experience to have a tee with the world-acclaimed artist She crumbles a piece of puerh tee, and I may select whose cup will be used to drink the tee of smoky flavour. I select the Olsen cup.

19/1/2013 Budapest


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  1. Paul Notaro 2019-05-29 REPLY

    I fell in love with your pottery while dining in the Budapest Tokio Restaurant. I asked the staff who made the pottery and they pointed to Nema Julia. It is really really beautiful. Do you have a website that I could visit? Thank you. -Paul N.