An ode to Piet Stockmans porcelain

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Flemish artist Piet Stockmans’ tableware and porcelain portfolio enjoy international acclaim, whether the pieces are under his own name or Studio Pieter Stockmans. From small-scale art enthusiasts to major names that include French Chef Alain Ducasse and Prince Albert of Monaco – Belgian (blue) porcelain is and has for decades been a prized item for many. But what about Stockmans himself? He has his feet firmly anchored to the ground and bubbles with enthusiasm to Fibre Mood about his life's work. 

In C-Mine, Genk's former industrial coal mining site, you'll discover loads of history andPiet Stockmans’ studio. He acts as doorkeeper and has christened the exhibition space as his ‘heaven’. He mentions as well that people who visit the studio often describe the experience as like stepping into a church. Stockmans personally proposed to the city of Genk that a quiet space be created for people to visit. In other words, the ‘heaven’ nickname was no accident. Does this room look familiar? It just might, since Fibre Mood also used this oasis of peace as the setting for its summer issue photo shoot. 

Piet or Pieter Stockmans?

As a student, he set off for Maastricht and Germany to acquire greater know-how in the ceramics industry and the art of porcelain, which is what led to his knowledge of true craftsmanship. It was in 1987 that Stockmans founded his business, where he mainly worked based on his own inspiration, complemented by custom pieces created for clients. After having taught industrial design for 29 years, Stockmans retired to Genk in 1998; however, as an artist, the word ‘retirement’ hasn’t found its way into Stockmans’ dictionary yet. These days he still manages to produce a new product for the studio every week. And everything created is authentic custom design, which is how he’s passed this passion on to his daughter and son-in-law who co-manage Studio Pieter Stockmans. Just to dispel any confusion – the artist himself creates under the name Piet Stockmans, but the studio co-run with his daughter and son-in-law is called Studio Pieter Stockmans. Sometimes the difference is in the smallest details.

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Piet Stockmans blue

That blue colours and dominates Stockmans’ work is no accident. ‘I naturally went for a beautiful, practical colour, but that (choice) also has something to do with the history of porcelain making. At 1,400 degrees, warm colours disappear during firing. We can only obtain cold colours at high temperatures – green, brown, grey, black and blue, where blue is the principal colour. That’s why I went with that colour, the colour I would make the majority of my work in.  It’s a very organic story. I've never done complicated things so that I could do something special. It’s a question of making the right choices at the right time in your life’, Stockmans says.

‘That blue took on a life of its own, but during the next exhibition I'll show that I’ve always worked with other colours, but that it’s simply been forgotten.’ Starting at the end of August, you can admire more of Stockmans’ work in every colour in the Piet Stockmans gekleurd [Piet Stockmans in colour] exhibition. It’s being displayed in ‘heaven’, i.e. his studio at C-MINE in Genk. 

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