Cavaliero Finn first spotted the work of Björk Haraldsdóttir in 2017, being instantly attracted to its strong sculptural forms and geometric patterns.
Since then the gallery has featured Björk’s work in several of its shows and she has gone on to win two consecutive Marshwood Arts Awards (2017 Applied Arts Prize, selected by John Makepeace OBE & 2019 for the John Hubbard Prize). In 2018, her work was selected for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition by Grayson Perry.
Originally from Iceland, the strong geometric patterning and both natural and architectural forms of Björk’s work are heavily influenced by her Nordic upbringing and training as an architect. Before exploring her passion for ceramic forms, the artist worked as an architect for over 20 years during which time she worked for a number of renowned architects including Richard Rogers.
At the core of Björk’s work is a conversation between 3 dimensional form and 2 dimensional pattern. The pattern is draped across the form and changes perception of the shape. The artist started her ‘pattern journey’ referencing to old textile work and stitching patterns from Iceland and the Nordic Culture. This has developed over time into patterns inspired by ideas and images she comes across in nature and daily life. Björk is constantly working into the pieces ‘making stiches’ or lines of weave and the result is often cloth-like in appearance. The ceramics are mostly built in stoneware clay and painted with slip which is then scraped back to reveal the base material in two-tone monochrome patterns. The scrape marks are visible and the surface is a plane of shallow relief, much like a tapestry. The tactile nature of these pieces is important – they are an invitation to touch, much like one would like to handle a draped cloth.
Björk approaches the making of her ceramic sculptures in the same way as an architect. Sculptures are planned and drawn before they are made and made as they are conceived – glass and steel have long since been replaced by clay.