Gabriele Koch

Widely revered as a consummate artist in clay, Gabriele Koch’s ceramics are admired by collectors worldwide. Her search has always been for simplicity, restraint and beauty in her work. Recently she has been exploring new techniques and materials, finding ways to combine heavy black clay with white porcelain, and working with texture and pale slips over dark clay to create new pieces that exude a compelling quietude. 

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Earth, water, air and fire. Gabriele Koch’s lovely pots speak of all four of those elements as vividly as any I know.


Gabriele Koch’s ceramics are in public collections across Britain, Europe, Canada and USA as well as private collections worldwide. Edmund de Waal called her pots, ‘articulate: they are wide in reach and deeply focussed.’  Tony Birks’ monograph, Gabriele Koch Hand building and smoke firing, was published in 2009 with a foreword by Sir David Attenborough. As Tony Birks wrote,‘There is something that lies beyond skill and experience: it is passion, an intensity which is evident in the work of Gabriele Koch.’ 

Born in Germany, she came to UK as a graduate from the University of Heidelberg, attended Camden Institute and King’s College London qualifying in Education before studying Art & Design at Goldsmiths. She was awarded two Crafts Council grants in 1982 and 1984 and won a prize at the international Biennale in France in 1984. She was a visiting lecturer at Farnham School of Art from 1987 to 1998 when she gave a lecture tour in Israel with the British Council. In 2011 she gave the inaugural Rothschild Memorial lecture at Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead.

Concentrating on simple forms, Gabriele Koch integrates, in her own words, ‘balance and tension, stillness and movement, expansion and containment, precision and spontaneity.’ All her pieces are hand built. The white earthenware pieces are burnished by hand to achieve a tactile surface with a slightly vibrational appearance. The silken burnished surface is interrupted and contrasted with a worked-in texture. They are fired to 1000C. The stoneware pieces have integrated bands of porcelain, which are sometimes complemented by brushed-on porcelain slip. Some pieces have painted-on porcelain slip only. The final surface is often achieved by multiple firings to 1200C.

These pots exhibit such tremendous “presence” that one can sense the tension created, as if the walls are being stretched by the force of containment.’


Gabriele’s pots are articulate: they are wide in reach and deeply focussed.


In Ceramics, there is something that lies beyond skill and experience: it is passion, an intensity which is evident in the work of Gabriele Koch.


Hand Building and Smoke Firing by Tony Birk

128 page full colour hardback monograph book. 27 x 22 cm. Introduction by Sir David Attenborough. Published by Stenlake Publishing. £20.00 + p&p.

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