CERAMIST HELI VALAJA
I graduated from the Ceramics and Glass Department of the University of Industrial Arts (now Aalto University) in 1993. Since 1994 I have worked as a studio potter, currently in workspaces built 2012–2013 at my home in Renko, Hämeenlinna (100 km north of Helsinki). In addition to my own ceramics work, I also teach other ceramic enthusiasts: children and adults, and ceramics students.
My small ranges of functional wares are made of high-fired clay, stoneware and porcelain using hand building techniques – casting, machine forming, extruding, throwing and hand building. An object’s form, surface/texture and functionality are important to me.
I prepare all my plaster models and moulds and fire virtually all my small scale production in an electric kiln. The colour scale of my work is mainly black and white, but recently I have introduced more colour through slip-clays I have coloured myself.
In addition to electric kilns, I also have a wood kiln. Firing in a wood kiln was something I became familiar with before my ceramic studies and I found it so fascinating that in 1989, as a student project, we built a Bourry-box type wood kiln for me. I fire a few of my pottery ranges in this wood kiln, but mainly I use it to fire unique and exhibition work.
There is a small gallery in my home studio which is open by appointment. I am a member of Unionin26, a craft and design shop in Helsinki. Its address is Unioninkatu 26, 00130 Helsinki and website www.unionin26.fi. Visit Facebook to see which exhibitions and fairs I am at.