SA ceramicist Ceri Müller shares the highlights of her new home on foreign soil

Working from her kitchen studio, Cape Town artist finds inspiration in Amsterdam

08 April 2021 - 10:57 By Tracy Lynn Chemaly
Ceramic artist Ceri Müller in her new home in Amsterdam.
Ceramic artist Ceri Müller in her new home in Amsterdam.
Image: Ceri Müller

Having done a recce of Berlin, London and Amsterdam in 2019, ceramic artist Ceri Müller and her husband, 3D visual artist Alexis Christodoulou, settled on the Dutch capital as the city they would relocate to in search of adventure and a change of scenery.

They moved from Cape Town to Amsterdam this past December, and now call an apartment on the Amstel Canal home.

Müller tells us more:

Why Amsterdam?

It’s really beautiful! I love that it’s a "small" major city, with so many parks, museums and galleries. Getting around by bicycle is really fun! Everyone speaks English and the vibe is relaxed and super charming but also highly functional, which is a good balance for work and life.

Where are you living?

In a neighbourhood called Rivierenbuurt, on the corner of a really quiet, narrow street, at the intersection of four canals. Our living area looks out onto this expanse of water, and I love to sit by the window and watch people rowing up and down the canals.

A view of Müller's apartment building in Rivierenbuurt, Amsterdam.
A view of Müller's apartment building in Rivierenbuurt, Amsterdam.
Image: Ceri Muller

Our apartment block was built in the Amsterdam School style of architecture that arose from 1910 through to about 1930 in the Netherlands, characterised by detailed brick construction and complex masonry.

It is a typical Dutch apartment building with a garden area in the middle that the back of every apartment looks on to. In our apartment, it’s the kitchen, which doubles as my ceramics studio, so working from here is wonderful because I build my pieces looking out toward the lovely garden.

Why are you working from your kitchen?

My original plan was to find a small studio to share but the Netherlands has been in lockdown since we arrived. I was so desperate to make ceramics that I decided to just get my hands on some clay and get going in the kitchen, which is actually super fun!

My practice is so incredibly restorative and soothing for me. It’s my daily meditation. Once lockdown eases, I’ll look for a studio, as it will be great to connect with some local ceramicists.

Ceri Müller loves the view from her kitchen/studio.
Ceri Müller loves the view from her kitchen/studio.
Image: Cer Müller

Did anything attract your aesthetic attention when you began exploring the city?

I am very attracted to texture, which is apparent in my work, so I was immediately struck by how textural the city is: paved or cobbled streets, contrasting, coloured brickwork on buildings, the rippling water threading through the city, and the reflections in the canals. The city struck me as a canvas of textural detail, which really appeals to my aesthetic.

Ceri Müller exploring the outskirts of the city while enjoying the snow covered landscape.
Ceri Müller exploring the outskirts of the city while enjoying the snow covered landscape.
Image: Ceri Müller
Ice skating views; natural textures inspire the artist.
Ice skating views; natural textures inspire the artist.
Image: Ceri Müller

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Ceri Müller finds inspiration in the intricate brickwork with coloured inlays that can be seen around her new home city.
Ceri Müller finds inspiration in the intricate brickwork with coloured inlays that can be seen around her new home city.
Image: Ceri Müller
Richly textured ceramic vessels by Ceri Müller.
Richly textured ceramic vessels by Ceri Müller.
Image: Supplied

Has the relocation sparked any new direction for your work?

The move has definitely impacted me, and I’m sure this will seep into work I create, but I guess this will be revealed in time. I have an infinite resource of crinkly vessel shapes and demented heads deep inside me, and I will continue bringing them to life. I have been adding even more texture to my work in the form of piercing and charms, which I’ll keep exploring.

• To see more of  Müller's work, visit her website or follow her on Instagram @cerimuller_studio.