For this installment of The Community, we’re keeping it close to home. Meet Maria Enaes, founder and owner of Enaes Studio, a quaint ceramics studio opened last November. Maria is someone near and dear to us. If you’ve paid us a visit at our Copenhagen store, you may have had the pleasure of crossing paths with Maria, whose wonder and passion for her craft is palpable.
Maria possesses a contagious awe for all things ceramics. Spend some time with her, listen to her talk about the process of throwing, working with clay, and you’ll find yourself feeling the same level of curiosity and gravitational pull towards the artform. It is always so refreshing and inspiring to meet someone whose love for the craft and work they pursue is so unfiltered. It is this unfiltered love for the craft that motivated Maria to open Enaes, after years of studying the art of ceramics at renowned institutions such as Krabbesholm Højskole and Tortus. Enaes is a member studio and space Maria founded where she not only creates her own works in, but uses to share the knowledge she’s gleaned over the years to run workshops and teach people about the craft as well.
For this very special conversation, Szeki sat down with Maria for a one-on-one workshop in her studio to discuss the process of ceramics and interrogate how at the heart of small businesses is a deep desire to build community through the sharing of knowledge and support—regardless of the shape or vessel your business takes on.
// Maria is wearing the Signature Dolman Shirt - Gauze Edition.
7115: Thank you so much for hosting this teaching session and talking with us today. I guess a good place for us to begin is at the start. Could you walk us through how you found your way to ceramics and the journey so far?
Maria: My interest in ceramics started with me searching for the perfect breakfast bowl – that’s when the first active thought of shape, of feel, and of the exterior of a piece of tableware came across my mind. And that developed into the thought of making my own ceramic bowl.
When applying to Krabbesholm Højskole in Denmark, to take half a year learning design, I knew they had a ceramics studio at the school and somehow, this was what I was mostly excited about. Having never worked with clay before, I managed to make a few wonky bowls, but I think that’s what sparked the feeling of how cool it is so make something of your own that you can actually use. This feeling I still have with me!
After my stay at Krabbesholm, I went back to Norway and kept practicing on my own in a shared studio. Then, later connected with Eric Landon, the ceramicist behind Tortus studio, and shortly after started an apprenticeship with him in Copenhagen. Here, I finally learned some technique and how to put words into the different steps of throwing and assisted with workshops.
I finished my apprenticeship with Eric after two years and continued to work part time for Tortus Copenhagen for another three years, in which I had the opportunity to teach evening classes. And with this, having felt ready and with a lot of experience, I opened my own member and teaching studio in November of 2022.
7115: When we think of workshops and studios that teach, we often default to the idea that the participant is the one who learns from the experience. However, as a small business owner, I feel that the relationship between the business owner and their community is a very fruitful and reciprocal one. I’ve learned so much from the people who have walked through our doors at 7115 over the last 15 years. So I was wondering, have there been any moments so far that stand out where a student inspired you or taught you something?
Maria: I can’t think of one particular moment, although there are quite a few moments and a lot of people I still remember even after so many workshops down the road. I feel like I’ve also become a better ceramicist after teaching as I force myself to really think about how I position myself and where to put pressure, things you maybe wouldn’t think of in a normal routine. So, that is thanks to my students!I can truly look back at so many great memories and friendships I’ve gotten through the workshops. It amazes me to see students return, some over and over, which I guess is because they enjoy it, but this also gives me a lot of happiness. In that same vein, I think what really is the driving force behind teaching is when my students develop in their challenges or succeed in making what they’d set their minds to. It’s always nice when they bring a drawing or photo of something they wish to create and we can work towards it. These are especially the moments I remember and that keep me wanting to teach. Experiencing that success from both sides is necessary.
7115: It’s so interesting and admirable to us that you decided to not just open a studio solely to work on your pieces, but to actually spread your love for ceramics and help people on their creative journey too. With artistry, there’s always a pursuit and drive to hone your craft and grow personally. How do you feel about balancing that with teaching?
Maria: I think that I have a good balance between having workshops and working on my own pieces. The good thing about workshops is that I feel like my mind relaxes in a different way as to when I’m all in my own head, working on my own pieces. During the workshops, I know exactly what to do and I’m able to fully focus on that single task.
I can imagine the studio quickly being lonely, if I had it just for myself and was only producing my own work. It’s lovely being able to meet so many different people through teaching and having members coming in and out using the space.
7115: I’m sure your approach to teaching can change from student to student. Do you ever have moments of a creative block with teaching? What are some methods you have to work past that?
Maria: It does happen from time to time and I always strive to solve the problem in the moment, looking closer up on their hand positions or further away and at how they sit. But many times, I place my hands on theirs to guide both pressure and movement. It’s a good challenge having to adapt to each person’s body and figuring out the best way for them.
Many hurdles are naturally solved with more practice and reminders, but sometimes I have to sit down myself and try it out, to see if I can better explain. And if there’s something I can’t explain, I will solve it by thinking it through as I’m throwing myself, for the next time.
7115: Send it forward. What’s another small business or creative you love?
Maria: I admire my previous colleague and friend, Franca Christophersen, for her beautiful work and how she started her own studio. I love her aesthetics and her way of exploring with materials in the world of ceramics. A different kind of artist is Jon Koko. His paintings are simply beautiful and I’ve rarely come across a painting that I find interesting, but can say that all of his, at least what I’ve seen so far, appeal to me. There are so many more… But another two ceramicists I appreciate for the soothing aesthetic of their pieces are Yuka Ando and Yuichi Romita.