WAUW design 15 years
In 2021, it is a full 15 years since Maranke and I started WAUW design together. In this article you can read about how WAUW design came to be, and what an exciting ceramic journey it has been to reach where we both are today.
Looking back to WAUW design's first year
Maranke and I met at the design school. Maranke was a year ahead of me, but she was waiting for me when she graduated so we could start the business together. In 2006, WAUW design was founded. Maranke and I had actually never done projects together at school. We had used each other for sparring, the chemistry was super good and we had fun, which for both of us was more important than having collaborated on projects. We were and are also 'good at being straight out of the bag' and that is important to both of us.
Maranke and I have a lot of fun together. Here we were for "photo-takeaway" with Amanda Thomsen.
For the first two years, we rented in different places where it was now possible, all the while looking for a workshop. It was an exciting, hard, fun and evolving time for us and our small business.
In 2008 we got the workshop in Willemoesgade, where WAUW design stands to this day. When we first had the workshop in 2008, we borrowed 150.000 from the bank so we could get started. We bought an oven and raw materials. We worked for free the first few years, as is probably often done in our industry. As soon as we made some money, we invested them in new commodities and equipment.
Picture from the shop in Strædet by my good friend, photographer Joshua Gross.
WAUW design store in Strædet
In 2011, we had the opportunity to open a store in Læderstæde. We were super excited and excited about the new chapter in WAUW design. Our idea was to make a shop with the entire WAUW designs collection as well as selections of foreign potters that we had met at markets around Europe. The store came to be called WAUW design Collection and Collected.
The store was small and had almost no storage space. But it was ours and it was an exciting time. We designed the store so that it with its display served as a warehouse as well. Two of the walls in the store were almost overgrown set boxes, so there were shelves and small compartments from floor to ceiling on two walls. It worked really well. We had the production and warehouse in the workshop on Willemoesgade, where we also sold second sorting from - then as an actual warehouse sale.
We had the shop in Strædet until February 2015, which was also the year where Maranke and I each went our separate ways. Maranke found love in Germany, so it was natural that we should not have business together anymore. I took over the WAUW design and have been running it ever since.
WAUW design is permanently moving to Willemoesgade 13
After the store in Strædet closed, major changes took place in the workshop on Willemoesgade 13. A door was taken out of use, so there was room for shelves and shelves, and thus the premises could be used for both shop and workshop. It is a gift for both me and the customers that I can work in the production at the same time as you shop and can follow the creation of the ceramics.
It's great to have it all together, and I find that many people want to hear about the production, see the ovens, the color pigments, color samples and the products that are not quite finished yet. It's always nice when you're curious!
In the meantime, the workshop shop as it is now has undergone some changes and I have made better use of the space. A few years ago I also got an extra oven so I could keep up with the demand.
I have also been fortunate to get to know some talented, young potters who I have hired to help with the production. It works so well and they are really skilled - and really fun!
Glazing of Pastello cups. Picture of my good friend, photographer Joshua Gross.
Continued collaboration with the founders of the original WAUW design
It's a little funny that many over time have asked and thought that Maranke and I became friends and therefore went their separate ways. Fortunately, this is not the case at all.
Maranke and I are still doing projects together. Among other things, we develop new glazes, which we then use in our own way for our products. Maranke is also a super skilled turner, and during busy periods she is sweet to help turn the frame products from the Songlines and Raw series. I'm also lucky that Maranke is in Copenhagen from time to time, so she can stop by for a cup of coffee and a good chat.
Another picture of Maranke and I for "photo takeaway" at Amanda Thomsen.
WAUW designs products through time
It's fun to look back at WAUW design's products over time. While some products have retained their expression, others have changed a lot and many new ones have been added.
When we started as a duo, our products were characterized by the fact that we had to collaborate on them, and that made the expression more mixed. After we went our separate ways, it is clear that we have each found our style and given it free rein. We are both still with our Crystal vases, but they each get their expression in terms of color choice and composition.
We also had to adapt our products to different markets. For me, WAUW design has become more minimalist with more simplicity in product expression. Maranke has been able to continue with more colors and small details, which she is good at and happy with, and fits well with the German market. You could say that the colorful Dutchman has found his perfect market, and I have been able to focus on the Nordic approach to design, and a more tone-on-tone touch on WAUW design.
Production of the Songlines cups that have been in the range for many years.
Where is WAUW design headed?
Over the years, the products have been sorted out, and new ones have been added. Moon, Rutile and Tone are some of the products that have come in the last few years.
I am very happy and proud of the Tone series, and I continue to work on improving and developing new products for it. Most recently, I have launched a new, large jug with a handle and an egg cup, and I am still working on a butter bowl - although it teases me a little, but it comes when I am completely satisfied with the expression. I feel like having to see the products 1: 1 before I can really sense if they work. That way, I'm more of a craftsman than a designer. For me, it is important to have the finished ceramic products in hand and not just on paper or on the computer. I have to feel the ceramic vases, cups, bowls, etc. in my hand - both tactility and weight matter.
Another brand new product is the mini vases. They are made for the small flowers that never fit other vases, and at the same time work for me as glaze samples. The minivases have a small 'neck' and curved shape, which makes them ideal for testing how the glazes behave on different surfaces and angles. New ones are constantly being made, and they are available in the store and here on the webshop.