Kjarval & Lökken - Icelandic Retro Pottery

Oooooh, I love when the door to a room full of knowledge opens. At first it´s often just a small narrow opening allowing you to have a peep at one corner of the room. Then it slowly by slowly opens more and more until it´s wide open and you can enter the entire room. That´s a good feeling! And the excact feeling I had Monday after a meeting with two lovely women. One of the them had the main key to the room I wanted to enter. She speaks Icelandic!


Some months ago I bought this interesting canister at a thrift store. It wasn´t difficult to find out who made it. It was very clear stamped Kjarval Lökken. Even the origin was clear. The stamp said Iceland.

It was the first time I had a  piece of Icelandic pottery in my hands. I think you can imagine how thrilled I was.

But searching the internet only pointed to a few sites in Icelandic. Not a language I master. But I understood that much. This was a piece of much wanted retro pottery. Did I get even more curious? Oh, yes.




And Monday was the day when I found out that Kjarval & Lökken actually was Tove Kjarval and Robin Lökken. A Icelandic and a Danish potter having their own studio in Iceland from 1965 to sometime in the 1970s. Maybe longer. Tove Kjarvals grandfather was the Icelandic painter Johannes S. Kjarval (1885 - 1972) and her choice of pottery for a living was not a commonn choice in Iceland. The country doesn´t have a tradition of pottery making. The first Icelandic pottery was by Gudmundur Einarsson (1895 - 1963) who opened the first pottery studio in Iceland in 1930.



Robin Lökken (or more precise Løkken) finished his potter training in 1958 and worked several years for Bjorn Wiinblad before starting his own studio together with his wife Tove Kjarval. At some point they moved to Denmark and Robin Lökken is still active with his own studio in the Northern Part of Jutland, Denmark. Might be worth a visit......

You can see more of Kjarval and Lökkens work HEREHERE and HERE
And some of todays work by Robin Lökken HERE

6 comments:

  1. wow, nice story & great detective work....I guess there isnt or wasnt historically much in the way of fuel in Iceland to fire the kilns?

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  2. I´ve never thought about that as a reason but you´re probably right. Another matter is clay which they seem to have but I don´t know how much. Gudmundur Einarsson used at some point local clay.

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  3. Dette er kjempeinteressant, Birgitte! Det slår meg at jeg aldri riktig har hørt om Islands tidlige historiske handelsforbindelser, hvor fra og i hvilken grad varer som f. eks potterier ble importert. Det er spesielt at et land med en slik beliggenhet ikke var selvforsynt med varer man hadde forutsetninger for å produsere selv? Kanskje var leireforekomstene ikke særlig store?

    Selv kommer jeg fra syd vest i Norge, hvor det gjennom historien har vært svært rike potteritradisjoner, ingen naturlig skog, men hvor det ble fyret med torv.

    Islandsk historie etter sagaene og før torskekrigen er et sort hull, må jeg innrømme... Men utrolig spennende gjenstander, har trykket på linkene også!

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  4. Ja, jeg synes faktisk også, at det er ret interessant. Jeg må vist grave lidt mere i, hvorfor de ikke har en keramisk tradition. For, hvad har de spist af og opbevaret i? Selvfølgelig kan man fyre med tørv, så det må jo være manglen på ler. Eller. Kapitlet om islandsk keramik er ikke helt lukket endnu :-)

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  5. Icelandic thrifter here, look up Icelandic ceramic companies Glit and Funi, the latter especially considered rare and expensive now, then there was Guðmundur from Miðdal, and his son Einar Guðmunsson is still making pottery.

    So, there was quite some ceramics made here, and still is.

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    1. There is a lot of lovely Icelandic pottery! I recently found a Glit table bowl. Very, very nice.

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