Ceramics, this beautiful mix of earth, water, heat and air has fascinated me since my youth. It was after 1990 that I surrendered to the passion and started creating. Sadly there is no formal education on this field in Slovenia, so I looked for books, got in touch with artists and visited their museums and galleries. When my husband Niko Zupan joined me at work, we wanted to make a step towards establishing ceramics as an equal art form. We translated and self-published a Serbian book by professor Branislav Stajević, entitled Govor gline (Language of Clay), and published a book on underglaze decoration of ceramics titled Poezija čopiča (Poetry of the Brush), trying to fill the void of lack of literature in Slovenian language. We have participated in numerous colonies of art ceramics and decided to organise one in Slovenia as well. We saw it as a great way of showing the importance of education, the spectrum of creative possibilities and a great chance to promote ceramics at a high level in our home environment.
Institute V-oglje is based in a village Voglje in a small municipality of Šenčur, in the immediate vicinity of Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport and 20km from the capitol of Slovenia, Ljubljana. We coined the name of the institute from the village name itself, we devided it into two parts and symbolically connected the institute with fire (in Slovenian “V” means the preposition “in”, and “oglje” is “charcoal”; it gives the temperature needed to turn clay into ceramic).
In 2006 we organized the first colony of ceramic art at our pottery studio. With time, the colony grew into a symposium. With the purpose of good organization and promotion of ceramics we founded the V-oglje Institute. Besides the symposium we also organize courses of ceramics and pottery, exhibitions, excursions to art exhibitions and invite artists from abroad to bring their vast knowledge to Slovenia with creative workshops. That way V-oglje Institute combines the interests of artists, ceramics lovers and at the same time encourages organized education and adds to promotion of ceramics.
We invite established artists to the symposium – ceramists, potters and painters – who use clay as an art medium. Participants only have to pay their travel expenses to Šenčur, the rest is payed by the organizer. Each year we also invite a young artist from home or abroad. In the 14 days of the symposium each artist has to create four works or four groups of smaller pieces and prepare a presentation or a lecture at the Šenčur museum. A visit to the presentation or a lecture is free of charge to visitors and art lovers. One work by each artist remains at the permanent collection of art ceramics at the Šenčur museum, that is the only of it’s kind in Slovenia. Each artist can only participate at the symposium twice as a way of ensuring diversity of the permanent collection.
Institute V-oglje offers the following services
- sale of ceramic products
- ceramics and pottery courses (beginner, intermediate, thematic)
- organizing and conducting workshops
- counseling and mentoring
- collaboration with various artists
- working in art classes in kindergartens and schools
- taking part of various events showing making of traditional Slovenian forms on potter’s wheel
- firiing/glazing products
- presentations of ceramics and pottery for tourists
- solo and group exhibiitons (ceramics and glass)
- Creative workshops for relaxation