Elke van den Berg

Even though Elke van den Berg graduated just a few years ago (in 2010 to be precise), her ceramics – all made by hand by the way – are already known all around the world.

Why did you start working with ceramics?
“As a small child I was always crafting and making things. And my granny taught me pottery in her shed, which at the time was just basic modeling and glazing of small tea sets and animals. Years later, at the Design Academy, I started using clay again, but this time with molds. And then, I really started working with ceramics, and mainly with porcelain. It’s a fantastic material; you’re really crafting and getting deliciously mucky. Yes, a lot can go wrong in the process – breakages, shrinking, warping (think enormous eggs and triangles!) – but it’s such a great feeling when my ideas come out successfully in porcelain form. I’m always so happy when that happens! And on top of all that, you also get to decorate it with all sorts of different matte and glossy colors.”

Do you do everything yourself?
“Yes. I have an intern who helps, but everything is done by me. People often ask why I don’t just have everything made in China, but I don’t want that. I think it’s so nice to really make everything yourself, from start to finish. I design each product myself, and create the models and molds too. We even fill the molds and finish each product off ourselves. And finally, each illustration is hand-drawn on by me – it’s incredibly time consuming, but truly wonderful to do!”

You didn’t graduate that long ago. How do you feel about your success?
“After I made my first ceramic design, it was immediately picked up by stores after Dutch Design Week. It still amazes me every day how well everything is going, and that what I make sells. I just got a mail from an Australian magazine that wants to publish a piece about my work. It’s crazy to think: my work is all over the world and I myself have never been to Australia…”