Press release Keramiekcentrum Tiendschuur Tegelen

Niek Hoogland, Tegelen Earthenware.

26 January to 30 June 2024 in Keramiekcentrum Tiendschuur Tegelen

In 2024, Niek Hoogland celebrates his 40th anniversary as a Tegelen potter. It provides the perfect opportunity for Keramiekmuseum Tiendschuur to present his work in the solo exhibition ‘Niek Hoogland, Tegelen Earthenware’. Niek makes both functional ceramics and free work in his pottery studio in nearby Steyl, mainly using local Tegelen clay. His work represents a contemporary interpretation of the type of Lower Rhenish slip-decorated earthenware pottery that has been made in the region from the 17th century onwards.

Niek Hoogland, the potter

Niek Hoogland (Tegelen, 1953) came into contact with clay and ceramics early on as a child. The roof-tile and brickwork factories dominated the environment where he grew up and trains laden with clay would rumble across the roads on his way to school. His father worked in one of the large roof-tile factories and he regularly visited local potteries in the area.

In 1984, he began his ceramics education with Thei van Rens in the Tegelen Ceramics Workshop and continued his training under the tutelage of Joop Crompvoets in Pottenbakkerij de Walsberg in Swalmen and Guul Jacobs in Pottenbakkerij De Olde Kruyk in Milsbeek. He also worked for a period as a thrower in a large production pottery in Beesel. In 1991, Niek and his wife Pim van Huisseling set up their own pottery studio on Grotestraat in Tegelen, where they focused on making slip-decorated earthenware, known as slipware. Since then, Niek has exhibited his work worldwide in galleries, museums and at ceramic markets and fairs.

Slipware pottery

From the 17th century, a new pottery culture emerged in the Lower Rhine region. The arrival of the Franciscans in Venlo and Dutch trading on the Rhine via Duisburg saw the introduction of a new decoration technique for earthenware pottery in the region. The use of a white clay slip on the local red-fired clay opened up a whole new range of decorative possibilities. Using a sharp point to scratch through that white slip, for example, would reveal the earthenware clay beneath. This decorative technique, called sgraffito, lent itself perfectly to making dishes and pots to commemorate an important event. A trimmed goose quill attached to the end of a cow horn filled with clay slip enabled the fluid mixture to flow out onto the surface of a dish in attractive spirals and circles. Production sites for this slipware pottery then arose in the northern area between the rivers Maas and Rhine. And one such production centre was Tegelen, where this type of traditional earthenware pottery has been made almost uninterruptedly since the second quarter of the 18th century. It is a tradition that Niek Hoogland has continued well into the 21st century.

Pottenbakkerij Hoogland

Pottenbakkerij Hoogland officially started on 1 May 1991. Based on their fascination for folk art and traditional earthenware, Niek and Pim chose to focus entirely on making slipware pottery. The majority of their work is made of the red earthenware clay and sand that they dig and process themselves. White clay slip is poured over the pots and then decorated with a broad palette of coloured engobes by means of various brushes and special slip-trailing applicators. More subtle decorations are scratched into the white slip using the sgraffito technique, revealing the underlying red clay body beneath. Once the decoration has been applied, the work is given a coating of transparent glaze and, after drying, is fired to a temperature of 1,100 degrees.

Niek Hoggland works tirelessly to help preserve the ceramic traditions of Tegelen and its rich history. Although he sees the pottery tradition of Tegelen and the region as an important source of inspiration for his own work, Niek does not necessarily feel beholden to it: “Tradition is all well and good, but it must be open to external influences. Traditions that are not open to change tend to close themselves off and exclude themselves, which ultimately leads to them dying out.” The exhibition ‘Niek Hoogland, Tegelen Earthenware’ shines a light on the wonderful work of Niek Hoogland and provides visitors with insight into all aspects of slipware pottery.

The Leach Pottery

The potter is celebrating a double anniversary this year: he is also turning 70. As icing on the cake, this year he was invited to serve as Artist-in-Residence for ten weeks in the world-famous Leach Pottery in the UK. He explored the combination of functional and decorative pots and used the ideas he developed in his own slipware pottery. The Leach Pottery, founded in 1920 by the Englishman Bernard Leach with the help of his Japanese friend and potter Shoji Hamada, is now a museum and gallery. It also houses a number of studios for workshops and a working production pottery that offers training opportunities to young potters.

Opening exhibition

The exhibition will be opened on Friday 26 January 2024 at 16:00. Niek Hoogland will be present at the opening. Jos Schatorjé, former director of the Limburgs Museum, will introduce the exhibition.

Activities during the exhibition period

Exhibition tours

Sunday 28 January from 13:00 to 14:30 and from 15:00 to 16:30 - exhibition tour given by Niek Hoogland (20 people maximum per tour).

Registration through the Tiendschuur website.

  • Sunday 25 February | 14:00 – The history of slipware pottery.
  • Sunday 28 April | 14:00 – Lower Rhenish slipware pottery.
  • Sunday 26 May | 14:00 – His work and the traditions of Tegelen-Lower Rhenish slipware pottery.

Registration through the Tiendschuur website.

In conversation with

Niek will be present on Sunday 30 June from 14:00 to talk about his work in the exhibition.

Slipware pottery workshops

Niek Hoogland will hold two workshops in the weekends 23-24 March 2024 and 8-9 June 2024 in wich he demonstrates the various techniques and possibilities of slipware pottery.
Information en registrations:

Visit Pottenbakkerij Hoogland

A visit to Keramiekmuseum Tiendschuur Tegelen can be perfectly combined with a visit to Pottenbakkerij Hoogland. The pottery is only a 15-minute walk from the museum.

For more information, please contact Marjan Kessels on 077 3260213 or by e-mail at Keramiekcentrum Tiendschuur Tegelen, Kasteellaan 8, 5932 AG Tegelen. Opening hours: Tue to Sun 11:00 - 17:00