Gabriele Koch’s vessels are seductive and atmospheric, striking in their balance between precision and fluidity. Here warm earthy tones of red and browns stretch across the smooth taut surface of this pod-shaped vessel. The surface pattern feels alive and is reminiscent of geology and skies. This elemental quality of Koch’s work derives from her processes of burnishing and smoke-firing. These are also techniques her work shares with indigenous American and African pottery, and it was after seeing examples of these types of burnished pots in museums that she pursued this approach in her work. 
Although Koch’s work echoes tradition, it is resolutely modern. Her work focuses on the vessel as an abstract sculptural form (see also 50751, 50753, 50754). Here the thin-walled narrow mouth of the vessel creates tension between the inner volume and expansive exterior surface. Koch cites artists and architects including Le Corbusier, Anish Kapoor and Ruth Duckworth as reference points for her interpretation of space. 
Koch constructs her forms in layers by hand using the coiling technique. Once the form is complete and nearly dry a coloured slip is added. The pot is then burnished with a metal spoon before firing. This step is crucial in ensuring the slip adheres. The pots are first biscuit fired and then undergo smoke firing in a small outdoor kiln. Sawdust is placed around the pot which is lit from the top and left to burn. Sometimes the pot is withdrawn before the sawdust is completely burnt. The form is then completed by wax-polishing.
Sim Panaser, June 2020
 Jane Perryman, ‘Gabriele Koch’ in Smoke Firing: Contemporary Artists and Approaches, (London: A&C Black, 2008), pp. 55-60, (p. 55).
 Ibid., p. 57.
Birks, Tony, Gabriele Koch: Hand Building and Smoke Firing, (Catrine: Stenlake, 2009)
Birks, Tony, ‘High Tech: Low Precision’, Ceramic Review, 144 (November/December 1993), 23-27
Perryman, Jane, ‘Gabriele Koch’ in Smoke Firing: Contemporary Artists and Approaches, (London: A&C Black, 2008), pp. 55-60
https://www.gabrielekoch.co.uk/ [accessed 25 June 2020]
Not on display
Title/Description: Red form
Artist/Maker: Gabriele Koch
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials: Ceramic, Earthenware
Technique: Coiling, Handbuilding, Smoke-firing
Measurements: h. 400mm
Accession Number: 50752
Historic Period: 21st century
Production Place: Britain, England
Copyright: © Gabriele Koch
Credit Line: Accepted under the Cultural Gifts Scheme by HM Government from Leslie Birks Hay and allocated to SCVA, 2016