Artist Yves Klein has patented his intense blue, Belgium's most famous ceramist Pieter Stockmans equally created a trademark for his soft ceramic blue. Ceramics is in itself already an art of limitations, imposed by the onerous and lengthy technical processes involved. But Stockmans has chosen to take this a step further and to make his boundaries even narrower and more restrictive than the average ceramist, in the choice of material and color: porcelain slip and blue cobalt dip. By doing so, he proves that there are no limits to the materials and processes if the creative can strike.
He picked up the secrets of porcelain in Selb, Germany and in Limoges, France, before becoming the house designer with the Dutch porcelain factory Royal Mosa. There he designed the iconic coffee cup 'Sonja' in 1967, which has been produced 30 millions times. But in 1989 he took a step into the unknown by opening his own studio. 21 years later and his studio is still a ceramic powerhouse. Specialized in handmade products and limited editions, the studio proves each times that the walk the fine balance of art, poetry and design. But this doesn't stop him to create industrial design, working for firms such as Royal Boch and Serax. And even then he doesn't touch the traditional, heavily laden with chlichés, porcelain.
While being original in each and single design, the element of repetition is a constant in his work. Stockmans says himself: "Repeating the same things is soothing for me. I think it can be compared to the way people used to pray a rosary. It opens up a different kind of consciousness, which, in turn, leads to new ideas. Of course, you always arrive at a moment at which you find that you have performed the ritual so often that it no longer creates any new tension. Then I have to move on again, and that's the start of a new process. That too, again, has to do with repetition and ritual."