NERIAGE - a technique with infinite possibilities for variation
Dr. Brigitta Neumeister-Taroni, Zurich, published 2007
This Swiss ceramist with Italian roots that still influence her today is one of very few Western ceramists who have devoted themselves entirely to the ancient Japanese neriage technique and have still managed to find their own individual style at the highest level. She has been rewarded with numerous prizes as a result, including, among many more, the 2005 Bronze Award at the 7th International Ceramics Competition Mino in Japan.
Neriage is a Japanese technique in which variously coloured porcelain bodies are rolled out into slabs, joined together with slip, cut into strips and then reassembled before they are finally fired. It is as varied as it is complex in its expressive force. From this broad spectrum, Angela Burkhardt-Guallini has developed an individual, personal style to perfection, single-mindedly pursuing her path. The main characteristics are clear geometric patterns, a restricted palette, contemporary yet timeless forms and a smooth, warm surface. This reduction that she has consciously developed allows her to concentrate on essentials.
In neriage ceramics, there is no brushwork. The upper and lower surfaces of a piece are thus the same. But, as Angela Burkhardt-Guallini says, it is one of the most exciting moments of her work when she lifts a new piece from the mould in which it has dried for the first time: this is as if she meets a different face from the one that she has accompanied with great care and attention throughout the drying process. She works exclusively with the finest porcelain. And she is not afraid to point out the practical benefits.
Her plates and bowls are dishwasher safe, i.e. they are easy to use and can play an active part in people's lives. This is in no way detrimental to their beauty: quite the reverse.
She is often surprised by how her mood is reflected in her work. She needs a lot of stamina to get her through the complicated production process. After the preparations, the making and drying, she fires each piece several times, every time 100°C higher than the last. The final firing is to 1260°C. In between, she smoothes and polishes the surfaces with finer and finer abrasives, finishing with a gentle polish with soft felt pads.