The Stockmans Blue Master: Piet Stockmans

February 2016

“There is absolutely no other ceramic artist who matches the vision, ambition, and industriousness of Piet Stockmans. He is part wizard, part-industrialist, part designer, part-potter, part-painter, part-architect, and part-conceptualist. All of these talents coalesce into one of the most unique and compulsively productive artists in international contemporary ceramics today.” – Garth Clark, 2000

Stockmans’ relationship with porcelain exists in the space between a passionate love affair and a close, steady friendship. Conversing with a singular medium for over forty years gives him a deeply personal relationship with it. Paper-thin porcelain cups, plates and vases are as much vessels for artistic expression as they are industrially-handcrafted everyday objects. Cradling a cup of tea becomes a viscerally calming experience as his eggshell beakers are, to quote our co-founder Nasir Kassamali, “so light, they are like an extension of your palm.”

Stockmans is also known for romancing porcelain in dramatic installations such as the ones he created for Luminaire Chicago during NeoCon and Luminaire Lab during Design Miami. A wall of feathered porcelain “wings” can touch the sublime while awakening the versatility and vulnerability of porcelain itself. In addition, Stockmans helped raise awareness and funds for cancer research by creating original pieces sold at auction for Luminaire’s Puppy Love 2006 and Paper Love 2008.

Born in 1940 in Leopoldsburg, Belgium Piet started his career training at PHIKO, Hasselt in 1963. He later joined the Dutch porcelain factory Royal Mosa where he designed the world’s most ubiquitous coffee cup ‘Sonja’, which has been produced 30 million times. In 1987, he started his own studio, that he runs together with his daughter, specializing in handmade limited edition porcelain objects that elevate everyday objects to ethereal works of art. One aspect is very recurring in his work and that is his use of only porcelain slip and blue cobalt. This earned him the name “Stockmans blue”.