Interview with Sophie Holt by Alicia Puig
Mother and daughter, second and third generation ceramic artists, are collaborating for the first time.
Our genes, our treasure, our commitment results in a sculptural collection called ‘SoLo’ Lot, who lives in The Netherlands, came to visit her daughter in Motueka, New Zealand for nine months. And those nine months they have been working together, almost every day, on a collection of sculptures.
I love clay. It is a pure and honest material. People used it centuries before me. When I see work created by long lost civilizations, sometimes thousands of years old, I feel connected, and amazed…the tendency to tell your story through a hunk of clay is so ancient.
Egbert Brandt taught me to be a ceramist. From 1981 to 1985 I attended the evening academy in Utrecht; modern oil painting techniques, anatomy, and portrait drawing. The urge to transform experiences into ceramic forms, my creative energy, for me, it is innate. To listen to my passion and act upon it, to continuously evolve, are my rewards.
It is beautiful and intense that my hands make that what I take in from the world around me and in me. Because I work from a space where words do not exist, it is difficult to find the right ones to accompany my work.
It is wonderful when someone comes by and identifies. While you do not know one another, it suddenly creates an intimate connection. I once read; you are the connections that you make. This always remained with me. And in those moments, I feel it is true.
Sophie has watched me work on the kitchen table from the age of 2, and it is very special to have been working together as mother and daughter each our person but together one, SoLo.
How did you first become interested in art, and can you explain a bit of how it led you to the work you create today?
S: I come from an artistic family. I have always been surrounded by art. My mother often took me to galleries and lucky for me, there are a lot of them in The Netherlands, where I grew up. What I love about art is that you can be free of what it means to you; the emotions you feel might not be the same as what someone else gets from the same piece.
I now live in New Zealand, the country where I was born, but I grew up in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Last year my mum came over for nine months so we could work together for the very first time. She taught me new techniques, and together we created 17 sculptures.
We love that your illustrations and ceramics are so colorful and fun. Can you tell us about what inspires you?
S: I always find that a difficult question to answer. I think because I’m not very good with words and expressing myself verbally I like to do this visually. So everything that happens around/inside me, the good and the bad, I use as inspiration.
Can you talk about some of your favorite works, and what makes them special to you?
S: What I loved about making these big sculptures is that they take a very long time to make. That feeling when you open your kiln and everything is still in one piece- is one of the best feelings you can get. It was a new experience for me.
And what makes the sculptures even more special is that it was a collaboration with my mother, creating together in one room for those months was very special. I hope there will be a lot more of that in the future.
Describe your current studio or creative space. What is most important about it or one thing that you definitely need in your work area?
S: At the moment I am working in the extra bedroom of my house.
What I need is good light, a good seat, and a table. And I work best listening to podcasts or have a documentary going in the background. I’ve always been like that, even in high school, I was always drawing while the teachers were talking to the class.
What one piece of creative or business advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t undersell yourself. And to my creative younger self- don’t freak out if you have a creative block. It will come back eventually.
Do you have any big collaborations, projects, exhibitions, etc. going on during the rest of the year that you'd like to share?
We will exhibit all the sculptures we made at the Quiet Dog Gallery in Nelson, New Zealand. This will happen very soon- this coming July!