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Rita Ternes & Thomas Naethe
German ceramists

Rita Ternes and Thomas Naethe are truly a remarkable couple. While partners in life (they have shared a studio since 1982), they have both developed a unique style each of their own. Thomas Naethe's wheel-thrown vessels display an incomparable style and sensitivity to form, while Ternes' folded, geometric sculptures are in a category of their own. Both occupy an independent niche in the world of ceramic art and design.


Ceramist Rita Ternes (b. 1955) studied at the State College of Ceramic Design and Technology in Höhr-Grenzhausen from 1978–81. Ternes is known for her hand-built, sculptural vessels, decorated with repeating geometric patterns. She won the Contemporary Ceramics award of Offenburg in 1983 and a Rosenthal award in 1985.

Artist's Statement

My sculptures separate the surrounding space from a self-created interior and simultaneously penetrate it on a flat expanse. I try to achieve a form with the most possible tension through the curvature of the wall and the composition of its different components. Through the choice of color the quality of the inner and outer space is emphasized. This continues to bring me to the dialogue of striped surface. In a few of my works the stripes fall into conflict with one another and create complex ornamental systems. For quite some time my work has been developing in the direction of minimalism. In this way, simple formulary elements influence the development of the work' s character through imperceptible change of color.

My work is constructed with a wet stoneware slab. The surface is inscribed and painted with colored slips and gas-fired at 11600 centigrade in a reducing atmosphere.


Ceramist Thomas Naethe (b. 1954) trained under Gisela Schliessler in Krösselbach from 1973-76 and received his masters diploma after studying at the University of Ceramic Design (Fachhochschule für Keramikgestaltung) in Höhr-Grenzhausen from 1978-81. His minimalist, wheel-thrown and sometimes assembled stoneware vessels display a high degree of design and personal sense of form and have an industrial look about them. Naethe teaches at the University of Cologne.

Artist's Statement

My vessels are compositions created from convex and concave designs, which always rotate on a perpendicular axis. By changing of the individual elements, new variations of the rotational-symmetrical vessel parts are created, which in turn become vessels themselves. The base forms the counterpoint of the composition, as in music. It is sculpted and always relates to the complete vessel.

In the last few years I have also created smaller vessel ensembles. The surface gives emphasis to the sculpted quality of the work. Colored rings separate and unite the individual parts simultaneously.

My work is turned from stoneware clays on a potters wheel, removed from the wheel, and sometimes constructed from four pieces. Their surface designs are created using colored slips, coloring salts, with a porcelain slip, coloring oxides and a white feldspathic glaze. They are gas-fired at 12500 centigrade in a reducing atmosphere.


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