Early Ceramics

  Johnny Rolf


"Not waving but drowning" 1995, w. 66 cm. (Coll. Gemeentemuseum, the Hague)

The poem "Not waving but drowning" by the English poet Stevie Smith
 affects me every time I read it.


"Not waving but drowning " detail.


"Firmament" 1993, h. 49.5 cm.
(€ 1600.-)

Looking at the starry sky, being admitted to the universe,
gives me the feeling of space I long for.


"African Woman" 1992, h. 56 cm. (Coll. Gemeentemuseum, the Hague)

  "Mother and Child" could be another name for this piece.
The reverse shows her house, her world.


"Tiger" 1992, h. 18.5 cm, (Priv. coll.)

  I was forming clay when I heard on the BBC how seriously the survival of tigers in India was threatened.
Whilst on my way to make a piece this small tiger head came out of my hands.


"Small Monument" 1992. L.21 cm.
(€ 1150.-)


"Monument" 1990, W. 43.5.cm,
(Coll. Hetjens Museum, Düsseldorf, Germany)


Mask "Odysseus", 1989; h. 25.5 cm.
(Coll. Grassimuseum, Leipzig, G.)


Mask "Zebu Ox" 1987, h. 51 cm.
(€ 2500.-)

In this period I made a series of masks. The form gives a lot of freedom
and the possibility to express thoughts on animals and people. The zebu
ox, a beautiful, hardworking animal, was the inspiration for this mask.


"Ganesha" 1986, h. 40 cm, (Priv.coll.)

During journeys and work periods in India I discovered how important
Ganesha, the elephant god is. Before each new enterprise one should
call on him. In particular he is the protector of writers.
This Ganesha hangs near our computer whom we have named Ganesh.


Mask "Elder" 1986, H. 37,5 cm
(€ 1350.-)


"Animal mask" 1986, h. 24 cm
(€ 1250.-)


Wall Plate "Yuruk" 1986, diam. 53 cm.
(€ 2100.-)


Box "Mosaic" 1984, H. 19 cm. W. 21 cm. (Coll. Gemeentemuseum, the Hague)

A journey to Turkey brought me a new color palette.
One can vary patterns endlessly. It was exciting to engrave
a continuous pattern over five sides.
The minuscule lid is hardly discernible.


"Kimono" 1984, w. 39.5 cm. (Priv. coll.)


"Hexagonal wall tile" 1984, Ĝ 41.5 cm, d. 2 cm.
(€ 1300.-)


"Rectangular wall tile" 1984, W. 38 cm, h. 27.5 cm, d. 2 cm.
(€ 1250.-)

In 1983 we travelled through Turkey for the second time.
Back home tiled walls from mosques and palaces and beautiful kilims inspired me.


Hexagonal wall tile"Composition",1984; Diam. 42.5 cm, H. 3 cm;
(Coll. Grassimuseum, Leipzig, G.)


"Bowl" 1983, diam. 41 cm, (Priv.coll.)


"Polderland" 1982; H. 47 cm, B. 24.5 cm, D. 8 cm.
(Coll. Gemeentemuseum, the Hague)


"Landscape" 1981, h. 31.5 cm.
(€ 1350.-)

This is the flat, Frisian country, man-made, wide and
beautiful, especially in winter.


Chess- set, 1981, dimensions board 75 x 75 cm
chess-pieces Ĝ 4.5 cm
(€ 3500.-)

This chess-set is made from porcelain fired in a salt kiln.
I enjoyed making very elaborate pawns.
For me they are the "common men", toys in the game of war,
who most of the time are being depicted in a very simple way.
I wanted to show the diversity, the surroundings of simple pawns/human beings.


Chess-set detail


"House" 1979, salt glaze, h. 26 cm. (Priv.coll.)

Houses have always intrigued me, in reality and in clay.
In them one looks for shelter, in them one finds a home.


"Rectangular vase" 1980, w. 37 cm, (Priv. coll.)


Small Pot around 1980. H. 9 cm.
(€ 175.-)


"Small Stupa with rat" around 1980. H. 12 cm
salt glazed porcelain.
(€ 250.-)


"Rectangular pot", 1978; salt glaze, H. 34.5 cm, B. 23.5 cm, D. 15 cm;
(Coll. Gemeentemuseum, the Hague)


Hat "Village" saltglazed 1978; H. 12 cm, Diam. 28.5 cm;
Morra, a beautiful small mound village , our house, the garden and.. kilns!
(€ 1400.-)


Bench "Morra" 1979, salt glaze, w. 17.5 cm, (Priv.coll.)

What happiness it is to sit in the sun on a bench in front of one's own house.


"Square pot" 1977, saltglaze, h. 28 cm.
(€ 1300.-)

In 1976 Jan de Rooden and I built a salt kiln in Morra, a small village in Friesland in the north of the Netherlands.
There we worked intensively for seven years.
I really like the sal tglaze technique, it registers sharply and faultlessly all that has
been done to the clay.


"Rock torso" 1976, h. 14 cm, w. 35.5 cm, d. 26.5 cm.
(€ 1500.-)

This piece is a memory of summer weeks spent at Haystack Summer School of Art in Maine, USA.
To pause in between the hard work people took a rest in midday, small naked figures on a mother rock.


  "Loving couple" 1976, h. 24,5 cm, w. 21 cm,
(Coll. Hetjens Museum, Düsseldorf, Germany)


"Loving couple" 1976, same piece seen from above


  "Longing" 1976, h. 21 cm, w. 18 cm, d. 15 cm.   Photographed from two sides.
(€ 1250.-)


"Chase" 1975, h. 23.4 cm. 69.3 cm.
(€ 1800.-)


Square Bowl on foot 1974/5. W. 12 cm.
(€ 350.-)


"Flowering Torso" 1973, h. 47.5 cm,
(Coll. Hetjens Museum, Düsseldorf, Germany)

For me the torso is the symbol of the human body.
This torso is flowering, moving, still growing...


"the Gardener" 1968, h. 47 cm.
(€ 1600.-)


  "Autumn" 1968. h. 21.5 cm, d. 9 cm, (Priv. coll.)

Old couple looking back on their youth.


"Ancestors" 1968, h. 47.5 cm, two sides. (Coll. Gemeentemuseum, the Hague)

In 1966 I made my first sculptures in clay.
We all have ancestors, known to us or not. Their existence, too, determines who we are.


"Stele" 1967, h. 38 cm, two sides (Priv.coll.)

In 1967 I participated in the Second International Ceramic Symposium in Bechyne, Chechoslovakia,
a country then still tightly locked in communist chains.
I visited Prague and the old Jewish cemetery there, which moved me deeply.
Once back in Amsterdam I made a few remembrance stones, steles,
to share the sense of loss.


1967. At work in Bechyne, Czchosolovakia, where I was invited for
the 2e International Ceramic Symposium.
Working there was wonderful!


"Aniara" 1966, 33.6 x 33.6 x 1.8 cm,
(€ 1800.-).

Published in "Verglaasde Charme - Glazed Charm
The Beauty of Dutch tiles 1570 - 2000"

Book in English and Dutch.

  During our work period at the Gustavsberg Fabriker AB  in Gustavsberg, Sweden,
we saw the opera "Aniara" after the poem by Harry Martinson.
It is the dramatic story of a spaceship that lost its way.
I made this tile in the Gustavsberg studio in porcelainous stoneware.


Detail "Aniara"
title, Gustavsberg mark and signature.


"Pot" 1961, h. 21.5 cm.
(€ 1000.-)


"Bowl" 1961, diam. 21 cm.
(€ 900.-)


"Small bowl" 1959, diam. 13 cm
(€ 700.-)


"Small bowl", 1959, diam. 12.5 cm.
(€ 500.-)