In conversation with Fanny Bylund

We had the honor of sitting down with Fanny Bylund, the Swedish ceramic artist – read our interview to gain insight to Fanny's work and learn about the collection she exclusively created for the Audo House. 


Could you describe your creative background and how you came to work with sculptures and art in general? 

Growing up as an only child I entertained myself in my own creative world and that’s pretty much what I still do in my studio.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Medium and Material-based Art from Oslo National Academy of the Arts, specified in ceramics. Before that I went to a Swedish folk high school for two years, focusing on ceramic form. Clay is the material I work best in, it suits my tempo and my way of thinking. When I move, the clay moves - as the sculptor Tony Cragg once said. I love the possibility of both adding and taking away material.


Where do you draw inspiration from for art pieces?

I draw a lot of inspiration from shapes I see in nature but also organic shapes I see in my daily urban life. Such as the fruit and vegetable section, or dry leaves on the ground. The sharp edges of the banana peel where the sides meet, or the round flat shape of a dried bean, for example.


In your own words what characterizes your artworks?

When I’m making my sculptures I focus on rhythm, balance and contrasts. I see my work balancing somewhere in between architectural, strict forms and organic, soft shapes. I like both the minimalistic expression and the flowy organic expression. In my sculptures I try to explore how simple a form can be while still being interesting to me.



What does your work process typically look like?

It starts with a vague sketch. When I can’t imagine what something I’ve drawn would look like in 3D, I need to sculpt it. When I start building, I try to keep an open mind of how the clay behaves, trying to make room for the clay to speak as well. If the clay collapses in an interesting way, then I might try to emphasize that, instead of sticking to the sketch.

I build my sculptures from bottom to top. The size of the base decides the size of the sculpture. The technique is called coiling, it's like I’m knitting my pieces with a thread in clay, and all sculptures are hollow.

In the building process it's a lot about timing. If I’m building too fast there is too much soft clay at once and the sculpture collapses. If I let it set for too long, the clay dries out and I can’t continue shaping it or adding new clay. When I'm building a sculpture I need to be totally present in the moment and alone in my studio, only having the radio on for some background murmur.


Lastly, which one is your favourite piece of this collection and why? 

To be honest, and maybe a bit cheesy, my favorite sculpture is always the one I'm building right now, or the next one to come. I'm never 100% satisfied, which I try to see as a good thing because it makes me want to do better next time.

But to answer the question better, I would say that for the moment, my favorite is the big, round, rather flat one - it takes up a lot of space but at the same time it doesn't. I have recently started experimenting with glaze details, just trying to see glaze as another kind of surface. I like the contrast between the matte, rough surface and the shiny, slippery one. An interesting combination for both the hand and the eye.


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