Nina Hole makes an architectural work in clay, with her volumes prepared to become a kiln, creating very characteristics volumes, wherever she goes.
Nina, in your work there are two elements, whose combination in ceramics is very attractive: fire & architecture. Whether it’s for your “fire sculptures” or even the smaller ones, these two elements are never separate. What is their meaning for you?
Architecture is sculpture and ceramics has always been a part of it. A house, for example, or other buildings are made of bricks and bricks are ceramics.
As for fire, it is an essential element of ceramics. It’s part of the process and it wouldn’t be ceramics without it.
When did you decide to make ceramics?
When I was a teenager I heard about a place where you could make clay and I knew then there that that was what I wanted to do.
Have you found what you were looking for in life through your ceramic work?
No, I don’t think so. I am still looking and think I won’t find it in clay. It does not mean I don’t enjoy it though.
What are your standards in life and work? Do you even divide them into two categories?
I think work and life go together, but I still try to keep my family life and my work as two separate things.
How did you learn the process you use in your work? Did you make lots and lots of prototypes?
I developed it through testing; trying and trying until I got to where I am now. And I keep trying to find new things.
Your principle is: “no limits, only opportunities”, but sometimes it is really hard to go through certain issues. How do you do it in your life?
When I was young I used to think this way. Now I know there are certain limitations that can slow you down. Having said that, I think it is a wonderful and necessary attitude to have when starting on your career.
Could you explain (if possible) what you feel during the different steps of a “fire sculpture”?
Excitement, curiosity, sensibility to the environment, responsibility to the place. Concentration during the whole process and relief when the project is done and is successful.
You sketch beforehand, from where do you get your ideas?
From drawing. I take ideas from everywhere, situations, places, and people.
Does working on your smaller sculptures give you ideas for your more monumental ceramic sculptures? Or do you just make different sketches for each scale?
I sketch separately. Sometimes they feed each other. But they are usually two different things. I do make small models for the “fire sculptures” in order to calculate size and firing.
In a sense, you are a “clay architect”, why not use an even bigger scale? Have you ever thought about it?
That is a very nice title. I have thought about making bigger sculptures, I just need the right time and place. It would require the involvement of more people like architects and engineers. It is a big challenge.
What would be your ideal project?
There have been many ideal projects, and still many ideas to explore. The ideal is when time and resources are not a problem.
What is the most difficult thing in your work?
Everything is a challenge. Getting to a completely different place that you are not used to being in and working with the materials you have; but that is also very inspiring.
What do you like most in your work?
Overcoming challenges and solving problems, and of course, firing kilns, it gives me energy.
What is beauty for you?
What I find beautiful is simplicity. In my sculptures I do not work for beauty but for expression. Beauty is not what I seek.
Advice is difficult to give because the world is a different place from when I started. I could advise to seek education – go to school. The more education you have the better you are in the world. And to network, talk to other artists and work with them. It will open your creativity and your horizons.