Born in Lörrach, South Germany, Gabriele Koch studied Ceramics at Goldsmiths College, going on to establish her own studio as a professional ceramicist in 1982 with the help of a Crafts Council Setting-up grant.
Gabriele’s initial interest in working with clay was kindled in Spain, whilst spending a term in Zaragoza to study, where the open desert-like landscape left a deep impression on her. Gabriele says she also discovered the beauty of unglazed pottery there, “the surfaces enlivened by fire marks, and the strong sculptural forms of unglazed jugs, hints of Africa and early cultures” as well as the works of Antoni Tapies and Eduardo Chillida leaving a deep impression and source of inspiration.
Moving to the UK, Gabriele was drawn to the meeting of the ancient and the modern, the rural and the urban, leading her to create simple forms, aiming to integrate balance and tension, stillness and tension, precision and spontaneity. Her interest in the elemental quality of ceramics led her to explore unglazed, burnished, smoke fired work, investigating the direct interaction between fire and earth.
Central to Gabriele’s work is the concept of the vessel, creating associations with sharing, ritual and celebration, reminders of our humanity, our history and connection with nature. Recent work has developed a more graphic language combining stoneware clay with porcelain. Gabriele’s work has been exhibited widely in the UK, continental Europe, America and China, as well as being represented worldwide in both private and public collections.