追悼リサ・ラーソン(Tribute to Lisa Larson)

Tribute to Lisa Larson

lisa larson

Lisa Larson (1931-2024)

Lisa Larsson, a world-renowned ceramic artist representing Sweden, has passed away. It even made the news in Japan before it did in Sweden itself. This proves that Lisa Larson is a great writer who was loved in Japan. I couldn't do anything for a while after hearing the news of his death. I knew that this day would come someday, but when it arrived, I felt a gaping hole in my heart. In recognition of all her accomplishments, I would like to share the life story of Lisa Larson.

Lisa was born in Härlunda, a small village of about 500 people in the Älmhult district of Kronoberg county in southern Sweden's Småland region.

In Sweden, when we talk about "small villages", there are some areas where only a few dozen people live. Sweden is a country larger than Japan with a total population of about 10 million people. Small villages really don't have many people, so they are much more "rural" than "rural" in the Japanese sense.

Lisa, who was born in such a small village, aspired to be a clothing designer when she was young. Although I had always had an artistic inclination, it wasn't until later in life that I was introduced to ceramics. Lisa was not a natural potter.

During my university days, I majored in painting and ceramics at the University of Gothenburg (Göteborgs Slöjdföreningens Skola) in southern Sweden. There is an episode from this time, and it is said that when he received pottery clay, he intuitively decided to pursue a career in pottery.

From then on, Lisa Larson's career progressed rapidly. While attending school, he submitted his own flower vases to a design contest held in Helsinki, the capital of neighboring Finland, and was noticed by a prominent designer who happened to be at the venue, and was scouted.

The designer was Stig Lindberg, the standard bearer of the Swedish art movement of the mid-20th century, ``Mid-Century''. Lindberg was an artist as well as a businessman, and was the chief designer of Gustavsberg, a long-established Swedish pottery manufacturer that had been around since the 19th century. Lindberg headshunts talented young designers and allows them to work freely within the company for a year as interns. In addition to creating new products, they were also trying to cultivate the next generation of artists. This was the moment when a girl from a rural town with only a few hundred people had her talent discovered by Sweden's leading pottery manufacturer.

From there, Lisa began her creative career under Lindberg's guidance. A small cat with a spiky tail that he created in 1953 was praised, and Lindberg advised him to complete a series of cats in a similar style. In 1955, the Lilla Zoo series was the first of Lisa's works to be mass-produced.


Lisa Larson is known for loving cats, but she has only ever had a cat as a pet. Lisa Larson's well-known work includes a 1963 lion statue , but it seems that there was such a background in the design, which is called a lion but actually looks like a cat.

After marrying the painter Gunnar Larsson, Lisa settled near Stockholm and in the 1960s began incorporating not only animals but also children into her motifs. The experience of becoming a mother has broadened my creative horizons and added new depth to my work. By that time, Lisa had already grown into a well-known ceramic artist in Sweden.

In fact, Lisa Larson visited the Osaka Expo in 1970 as a member of the Swedish delegation. Although she had originally had the opportunity to experience Japanese pottery through her teacher Lindberg, this was her first time visiting Japan and exposed her to the modern, folk-based Japanese pottery movement seen in the Mingei movement.

Lisa Larsson's work was an intense study of materials that set her apart from traditional Swedish ceramics. The method that Lisa Larson is particularly particular about is called "chamotte." Once fired in a kiln, the hardened lump of clay is crushed into powder. The powder is then mixed into pottery clay again to create a work of art. By following this time-consuming step, you can increase the flexibility of the finished product while ensuring its strength. At first glance, many of Lisa Larson's works have an earthy texture, but they are actually made from unglazed ceramics, which are stronger and more difficult to break than regular ceramics.

In 1974, as part of a UNICEF charity project called ``Children of the World,'' he designed works by children from all over the world. From the motif of a mother as a child, she will now expand her range to include sculptures of children of all races and skin types from around the world. During that time, she co-organized exhibitions with her husband Gunnar, and in 1979 she became a freelance designer.

The company also provides designs to Höganäs, the domestic retail giant Åhléns, and the German pottery manufacturer Rosenthal, but continues to provide designs to its former company, Gustavsberg. Masu.

He visited Japan twice, in 1979 and 1981, and held solo exhibitions at the Seibu Department Store in Tokyo. It is not uncommon for solo exhibitions in department stores to attract tens of thousands of people, but his 1981 solo exhibition attracted 70,000 visitors. After her first solo exhibition, her second exhibition shows that Lisa Larson's name was recognized even in Japan.

Lisa Larson's involvement with Japan does not end there. The work Jang, which I designed in 1986 for a Swedish department store company called Ohlens, was actually manufactured in Japan and sold in Sweden. The Young series is a high-quality piece made in Japan, with almost no intrusions typical of Scandinavian tableware, and no support marks.

In the 1990s, he returned to Keramix Studio Gustavsberg, which was founded as Gustavsberg's in-house atelier. Together with her assistants from her time at Gustavsberg, Lisa decided to reproduce and produce Gustavsberg products from the 1960s and 70s, which she herself was very fond of. Most of Lisa Larson's works currently in circulation in Japan were created in this atelier.

In the 2000s , he was supervised by Keramicstudio Gustavsberg and actively participated in solo exhibitions held around the world. In his home studio, he continued to research materials while continuing new creative activities. It was a life in which he continued to burn with passion as a lifelong potter.

Currently in Japan, the Lisa Larson exhibition is being toured at museums throughout the country, and many unique pieces of work that will eventually return to their home country of Sweden are on display. Now that Lisa has passed away, I think her work will become even more loved and cherished, and it will become something that is far from our hands. We recommend that you take this opportunity to view various works by Lisa Larson.

In closing, I would like to pray for the repose of the soul of Lisa Larson, who was loved all over the world, loved in Japan, and loved by Japan as well.

Click here for a list of Lisa Larson's works.

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