Wouter and Harvey, both fashion designers, crossed paths eight years ago. They’ve been together ever since. Besides a passion for each other, they also share their love for beauty and ceramics. What once started with one piece is now a collection that fills their home and their lives.
Your house is filled with ceramics. Is their a certain style or artist you are specifically drawn to?
Wouter: We both have a strong connection with Flemish ceramics from the 1958 to 65. French, Italian and Scandinavian ceramics can be very beautiful, but there is something pure and different about the Flemish ones. Maybe it’s due to the fact that I grew up in Eeklo, in the Flemish ceramics region.
How important are ceramics and does it influence your work and live?
Wouter: I think it does for me more than for Harvey. For me it’s almost like an obsession. (laughs) It all came very spontaneous. We both were very interested in ceramics and bought one piece. Soon it became a passion.
Harvey: You can see that evolution very well on my blog. As in the beginning I was writing more about lamps – another thing we both love and collect – and fashion, I soon dedicated more and more posts to ceramics.
Wouter: In those four years we’ve been working on it a lot. Not only the collection, but we also learned to make ceramics in the Perignem atelier in Beernem.
Harvey: It’s a very special, inspiring place as a lot of ceramic artists worked there, like Octave Landuyts and Yves Rhayé.
Wouter: I’m currently working on a book on this atelier. It has such an interesting history and played such an important role in the art of ceramics.
I can imagine that if you fully capture the process of producing ceramics, you have a new way of looking at the pieces in your collection.
Wouter: Absolutely, we now understand every step it takes. From the sculpturing, to the baking and the glazing. It’s a very intense process.
Don’t you think ceramics are a bit of a forgotten treasure?
Wouter: It’s been in oblivion for quiet a while. But today we really feel it’s coming back. There is a newfound interest for ceramics, both the modern as the old pieces.
You do manage to translate classic ceramics into a modern interior.
Wouter: That’s essential to us!
Harvey: Most people think about dark, old-fashioned interiors when they think about ceramics.
Wouter: We try to show them they are wrong. Mainly on our blog, where we often photograph ceramics next to modern, design pieces.
Harvey you currently have an exhibition with ceramics and clothes.
Harvey: That’s right, it’s a cross over of my fashion and ceramics. Usually when I finish a project like that one, it’s like finishing a chapter and I start a new one.
Wouter: In my case it’s more of something ongoing. We have another way of working. Also when we make ceramics. Harvey usually takes the clay and starts sculpting right away. As where I need more time to think about it, make sketches, let it sink in. Although usually the end result becomes something completely different than what I had on paper. (laughs)
Harvey: I usually want things to go a bit faster, because I’m already thinking about the next project. (laughs)
Wouter: But in ceramics you have to take your time. First the sculpting, than the baking and glazing. It all needs your full attention. I also like to think about the colors I want to use. I can be very inspired by color. Same goes for the clothes I design. I like to experiment with bold color combinations. And always a touch of fluo, even if it’s just a little hint.
Ceramics are very organic, earthy almost. How different is it to fashion where everything is more transitory?
Harvey: We love that about ceramics. It’s working with earthy materials and it’s timeless. We hope to do the same with our fashion. We want it to go beyond trends. But to create something that is real and sustainable.
Wouter: We do believe that it is part of our way of looking at today’s society. We are more and more conscious about the materials we use and how we use it. Ceramics is all about that. It’s about using a earthy material, putting time and love in it. Create beauty that will last. Also our house has been renovated very eco-friendly. That’s how we see the world evolve, at least we hope so. We are also making plans to grow vegetables on our rooftop. But that’s something for next spring, that asks a lot of more time. Something we don’t have enough of sometimes.
How do you see your future? Will it always be here in Antwerp?
Wouter: For now, yes, but we do make plans to move abroad. Somewhere warmer. (laughs) I would love to build a house in a more nature friendly environment. And incorporate ceramics in the design.
Harvey: I also would like to move somewhere warmer, like Brazil, I think it’s because of my Surinamese roots. (laughs)
Pictures by Lenz Vermeulen