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Atelje Janja Gora
Janja Gora 163b
- About the atelier
- Art and tourism
- Foto i video
For all of you who are visiting our page for the first time (and everyone else), here we offer a summary of the idea and project of International ceramics centre Atelje Janja Gora, as well as recent happenings. More information about our work can be found following the links on the top of the page.
You can also follow our facebook page for news, oncoming events and short reports about what we're doing at the moment.
International ceramics centre Atelje Janja Gora is a center where creativity and art are the most important and free of all social, nacional, religious, political, educational or any other barriers.
We want to open up a space for individual and communal growth, that's why we provide all creative souls with the opportunity to express themselves, we integrate the local community into our projects and also offer a number of free ones.
Our programs and workshops are dedicated to ceramics, clay and traditional pottery – an important, ancient, natural practice we want to emphasize.
We create a space of cooperating and sharing knowledge, and we believe that this brings the opportunity of growth to any society.
That's why we also organize free ceramic workshops for children in a place of weaker social, economical and educational prosperity, in hope to bring lasting positive changes to the life of individuals and the whole community.
Creative expression should be available on a large social scale as a foundation of education, a foundation of creating self-aware individuals for a good and healthy community.
News and happenings 2017.
Kreativci u Lici
We are continuing with our program of free workshops for children called 'Kreativci u Lici' ('Creatives in Lika' a name of the region we live in). This year we presented a small adittion: an exhibition of all the children's works on the school day of Primary School Plaški. This way we want to present the program to other children that might, watching their peers' works, want to discover their own creativity as well. More about the project on this page.
This year our anagama continues to breathe, to burn and to fire the works of artists from Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Montenegro, as well as our special guests from Taiwan who decided to spend a few days of their cramped schedule alongside our kiln. We are honored by their visit. It is also a great honor and enourmous happiness to have and be able to work with such a kiln. The energy of the fire guides us during the process and leaves in each and every one of us the experience of melting and recollecting in a unified breath of men and fire.
First firing took place in May 2017. Started loading on Friday 26., morning. Start the small fire at midnight. Fired all day through, to 6.00 Sunday. Al cones down, great firing. Thank you Anja Slapničar, Eva Novak, Bojan Mršić, Slavenka Baković, Danijela Pešut, Yu Thin from Taiwan. Thank you people for sharing the fire!!!
Second firing took place in June 2017. Thank you Liank Wu, Živa Slavec, Lidia Boševski, Anja Slapničar, Denis Kuhar, Ivana Petan, Bojan Mršić, Martina Franic, Erik Haugsby, Branko Šupica i/and Danijela Pešut. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, your experience, your openness and your kindness. Thank you for sharing the fire! Janjagama and Atelje Janja Gora loves you!!! ... and puff, what a opening day. Sun, clouds, rain, melted pieces, broken pieces, beautiful pieces. Why do we do it? Try for yourself!
For more pictures see our fb page.
Of course, the atelier stays open for cooperation and new, interesting initiatives. That's why we organize workshops to suit the needs and wishes of their participants, workshops for schools and museums, for firms, families and any other type of community.
We are also delighted by the fact that more and more people are beggining to look for unique ceramics, ceramics that have a story, carry a message and are hand-made and original, so you can now find our ceramics in small galleries along the Adriatic coast, restaurants and tourist locations (and, of course, in our gallery).
Atelje Janja Gora – birthday party
In 2016 our atelier became ten years old. Ten years of work, creation, new knowledge, giving and recieving. Ten years of succesfuly avoiding the challenges of commercialisation and differences thrown upon us. Ten years... That created a group of people who recgognize eachother only in one thing – the wish for creative expression, exchanging experiences, creating positive vibrations that contribute to making this wonderous place. Days of mutual construction work, years of putting all of this together, stone by stone.
For this occasion, we organized a celebration made perfect by an exhibition we put up all around our sculpture park, an expo of Chawan, good live music, workshops and, of course, all of you who came to make the party just a bit more magical. ☺
We also put up a big symbol of the atelier and set it on fire at dusk, to honor fire, our lifetime companion.
You can find pictures, videos and more about this day on our facebook page.
Janjagama 11/12/13th March, 2016
Every firing is unique, just like every day in life. This was a rain firing, with the temporary river flowing just between the atelier and the kiln. So we had to improvise a bit. But, we had delicious food, drink, music and atmosphere (inside and outside of the kiln). Up to the next one.
Thank you Kuno and Danijela for the food, thank you Tara for playing and singing your music, thank you Bojan, Anja, Sandra, Živa, Denis (x2), Patrik, Vesna, Igor, Sena and Branko for looking at and feeding the fire.
You can see the photos on our facebook page.
Once again, there is a international gathering of ceramists around the fire in Atelier Janja Gora. Ceramists from Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro are participating in the fifth firing of the anagama, a wood fired ceramic kiln. More than 30 artist from the whole Europian Union already gave their works to the fire in our Atelier. Wood firing, a technique that used to be the only possible way of firing but was slowly forgotten due to 'easier' ways (gas and electric energy), is once again becoming the focus of artists all around the world. And while these traditions have never been broken in some countries, in our atelier it's a kind of reintroduction of this timeless method of making clay a lasting work of art or an object of use.
Atelier Janja Gora built its anagama (anagama is the japanese word for this type of kiln) in the summer of 2013, as a part of its philosophy of living and searching for timeless techniques and secrets of the ceramic craft. And while most wood fired kilns in these areas were built to reach a maximum of 1000 degrees celsius, Janjagama (as we call our kiln) reaches temperatures above 1300 degrees, making possible the creation of ash glazes (from the burnt wood) that interact with the elements in clay and lead to magical colour combinations, unexpected effects and glazes. In this particular process lies the mystical magic of wood firing – putting his artworks in the kiln, the artist 'says goodbye' to them and fully surrenders himself to the powerful force of fire, hoping that everything in the kiln survives the intensity of open flame and temperature oscilations, rewarding him with the final products.
The intense process of firing sometimes lasts up to 40 hours of constantly adding wood (dry beech) into the flame of the kiln, and the cooling of the kiln lasts up to five days. After five long days of waiting (opening the kiln too early would cause sudden temperature drops which would break the objects inside), the gates are opened and the result is shown.
Ceramics fired in these kinds of kilns and in this way enjoys a special status in the world. Because of the creation process, the works that 'survive' the firing carry in themselves the energy of creative sinergy between men and nature. Stoneware that comes out of the Janjagama stays here to tell its story to the oncoming generations of archaeologists and anthropologists and fills us, the participants of the process, with joy and inspiration to keep on creating.
Danijela Pešut, Branko Šupica, Sandra Mihaljević, Bojan Mršić (Hr)
Anja Slapničar, Denis Kuhar, Patrik Benedičič, Živa Slavec, Vesna Vidrih (Slo)
Kazuyoshi Kuno, (Japan), special guest, Japanese lecturer on tea ceremony
photos on our facebook page.
Janjagama, November 2015.
Wood firing ceramics is an intense work, but at the same time very 'contagious'. The firing preparations always develop in some kind of 'festive' mystical atmosphere. Before the crowd gathers its necessary to go around the kiln, check it and feel all the walls, clean the plates and cover them with a fire resistant mixture. Then, when all the 'firerers' arrive, the kiln is slowly loaded. Slowly, because it's probably the most important part of the process. If one piece falls on another, there's a big possibility that more of them will fall and after being exposed to 1300 degrees celsius become a big sculpture of combined artworks. And even though we love those 'melted' sculptures, we make sure we place them in a way they will all survive.
And then, the ritual begins.
We put offerings (fruit, vegetables, flowers) next to the kiln. On the other side we pour a glass of plum brandy from Lika. It slowly evaporates during the firing as an indicator of the processes inside the kiln. With the first few flames the crew is still a bit all over the place, slowly noticing the development of the fire. As the intensity of the flame gets higher, the concentration of everybody is captured by the insides of the kiln. Everyone follows the moving of the flame, the colour, the condition of the works inside of it, we take out the test triangles and allertly watch the 'pyramids' that measure the temperature. Almost quietly, everything transforms into firing and fire. We eat, dring, laugh, sing and talk about who knows what along the way, but the real attention is directed towards the transformation going on in the kiln.
The firing team:
During the firing this November, there was snow outside and the air temperature around 4 in the morning was -10 degrees celsius. At the same time, it was around 1280 degrees inside the kiln. We had to change the water we had prepared for cooling the kiln every five minutes, because it would freeze otherwise. The atmosphere of the firing was timeless, out of this world, and as the end of the firing approached everyone spontaniously knew what, how and when to do. A little bit over 1300 degrees we decided to stop. It was around 5 in the morning and we had started firing the morning before. Mixing clay, closing all holes and doors, closing the chimney, checking multiple times to make sure no flames 'escaped' the kiln and set something on fire. After that, one from the team stayed to look after the kiln and the others went to sleep till the next shift.
You can see a part of the atmosphere in this short video:
What followed was a loooong week of waiting for the kiln to cool down and open. On the next Saturday, 5th December 2015, the kiln was opened and unloaded with lots of exclamations and sounds of joy. The whole happening was completed with a tea ceremony under the leadership of mr. Kazuyoshi Kuno, a teacher from the Uransenke school in Ljubljana. Fotos on FB.
Janjagama, May 2015
For the third time, we welcome in our atelier ceramists from several EU countries with only one goal – to share the flame. This firing we decided to try something new: firing it nice and slow. After the exhibition opening in Samobor the whole team gathered in Janja Gora the very next day and began glazing, spraying, coating and talking about all the things we are going to try. The participants brought their artworks and some of the glazes they've prepared themselves, so we had a variety of clays from France, Belgium, Germany, Slovenia and Croatia on the table, as well as the most various components of glazes. Traditionally, we from the atelier made our own glaze mix of local clay, some ash from the kiln left over from the last firing, a little seawater and a dash of kaolinite here and there. We also made a special 'slivovitz glaze' in which we added some real plum brandy (šljivovica) from Lika.
We started the firing with a small fire on Sunday evening, after we had spent the whole day 'packing' the kiln which was no easy task, because all 13 of us wanted to put everything we had inside – small things, big things, all the way back into the kiln, in the middle, up and down. When we finally succeeded, the kiln was jam-packed. We slowly built the fire and started the real firing Monday morning. It lasted all the way to the night before Wednesday, around 40 hours of intense stoking and sweating. It's hard to describe the feelings and the energy created during the firing. As the temperature rises, the focus 'dissapears' in the small opening on the kiln from where the flames are gushing. After that, closing the gates and waiting for it to cool down. Those longest days – we used them for a roadtrip to Istria and the Plitvice lakes. During the firing (Tuesday) we welcomed a journalist from HTV, Hrvoje Matejčić and he filmed a nice little report on our time together. You can watch what he filmed here (youtube), and see more from the firing on our facebook.
Anja Slapničar, Slovenia
Ines Kovačič, Slovenia
Mateja Kapun Zajec, Slovenia
Nataša Kokol, Slovenia
Dani Žbontar, Slovenia
Marthe Vanhoutte, Belgium
Inge Hernalsteen, Belgium
Odile De Clerck, The Netherlands
Anita Hayen, Belgium
Lou Smedts, Germany
Gerda Genijn, Germany
Lea Sinnaeve, Belgium
Jan Vannerom, Belgium
Branko Šupica, Croatia
Danijela Pešut, Croatia
Bojan Mršić, Croatia
Sandra Mihaljević, Croatia
Samobor museum exhibition 'Atelje Janja Gora – a journey'
In honor of international museum day, the Samobor museum and the International ceramics center Atelje Janja Gora organized an international exhibition called 'Atelje Janja Gora – a journey'.
The exhibition was divided in three sections. The first one presented the works of artists who collaborated with the atelier, many of which were made in the atelier itself. The second part was dedicated to artworks of children made within the program 'Kreativci u Lici' (creatives in Lika). In the third part the atelier presented its role in organizing and conducting the world renowned 'Chawanexpo'.
The exhibition lasted from 16th May till 24th May 2015.
You can see the digital copy of the catalogue here.
The other side of the euro, workshop - 11th May, 2015
With regard to Europe day our atelier organizes fitting exhibitions and workshops in cooperation with Karlovac county. This year we made a workshop called 'The other side of the euro' interpreting and designing the other side of the EU coin, in preparation for it to replace our kunas. Children who attended the workshop were given a half-made coin out of raw clay and were challenged to design the other side showing some popular croatian motives (the dove of Vučedol, Plitvice lakes, Dubrovnik, the palace of Dioklecijan etc). During the workshop there was also an exhibition of childrens artworks as a sign of our continuous promoting of the local culture, history and natural beauties through working with the youngest and developing their creative thinking and approaching their environment. Fotos on FB.