Have you met Sophie Giet?
Apart from having a hard-to-pronounce name for all English speakers, Sophie JEE-EI possesses an impressive set of artistic skills and, without a doubt, a unique talent.
“I’m a ceramist, a sculptor and, by training, a restorer but it’s really the ceramic matter which is the base of my work.
I now mostly create functional sculptures but my journey started with figurative sculpting. Actually, from figurative sculpting I went on to develop decorative objects which I then mixed with my that background to give a function to figurative sculptures.
The relationship between shape and function is something that I work with in all my creations. Now, as stated above, all pieces do not have a function, but the majority do.
I find my inspiration in things like popular songs and expressions as well as in modern news topics. A typical working process for me is to listen to a song which speaks to me and to transfer it in my creation.
A constant wonder of mine is how to send a message through a sculpted character and give it a function.
Example: I’m listening to the radio and ‘Ma Gueule’ by Johnny Hallyday airs, it gives me the idea to sculpt the face of person who is disfigured by purulent acne. That character has its jaw open and a mirror is placed in it on which is written ‘Quoi ma gueule, qu’’est-ce qu’elle a ma gueule?!’.”
Note from the interviewer: If you’re not familiar with Johnny Hallyday and his repertoire, the song ‘Ma gueule’ – translation: My face – is about a man who heatedly responds to being overly looked at due to his appearance and/or way of being: ‘Quoi ma gueule, qu’est-ce qu’elle a ma gueule’ translates into ‘What my face? Is there something wrong with my face?!’.
WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH EXTRA-ORDINAIRE?
“Above all, a long-standing friendship with Jean-Paul. The idea of doing something together had been there for a long time and I proposed to have my latest work exhibited at Extra-Ordinaire.
The exhibited pieces were created as a series of figurative candlesticks essentially using earthenware and newly found enamels: as a conclusion and follow-up of my latest artistic residency, I worked with a new set of enamels which I discovered there and decided to explore as part of my new line of work.
Prior to the residency, I was essentially working stoneware which – due to its high firing temperature – prevented the use of low-temperature enamels. As part of my work there, I started working earthenware which – because of its lower-than-stoneware firing temperature – allowed me to decorate my pieces with these new low-temperature enamels.
Jean-Paul and I selected some of that work, which is now exposed at Extra-Ordinaire.”
WHERE DO YOU LIVE & WHERE DO YOU COME FROM ORIGINALLY?
“I live in Liège, Belgium but I was born in Ivory Coast. I grew up there until I left for Belgium when I was a teenager. Considering the fact that I’ve been living in Liège most of my life, I think I can say that I’m a Liégeoise.”
NAME 1 PERSON, 1 PLACE, 1 OBJECT THAT SHAPED PAST, PRESENT AND INSPIRES YOUR FUTURE.
> 1 PERSON: My husband, Denis:
“My husband for the reason that we’ve been together for more than 20 years now. We’ve met during our studies and since then he’s always been there for me. He supported me, my work, during my toughest times. Artistic professions are not easy careers and he’s been a beacon to me.”
> 1 PLACE: Assinie Beach, Ivory Coast:
“It’s the beach where I spend most of my Sundays with my family. Ivory Coast profoundly marked me, with its beauty but also its hardship. It left a mark on my past as I grew up there, it marks my present since I now want to live by the sea and it marks my future because I will one day live by the sea.”
> 1 OBJECT: Fragiles: Porcelain, Glass and Ceramics Hardcover
“I studied Ceramic Restoration as the study of Ceramic Creation was not available at the time. I’ve always wanted to be a ceramist and, although I learned all about the history of it, it lacked to approach modern ceramic. This book: Fragiles: Porcelain, Glass and Ceramics is part of the education I gave myself in parallel with my studies.”
HOW DO YOU FIND THE EXTRA IN THE ORDINARY IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE?
“Simply by watching and enjoying what’s present. The ‘extra’ is in every moment of life, for me: going on a romantic trip, watching kids grow up, taking walks in the woods with my dogs, having a good meal in good company, opening the kiln (oven) to a successful ceramic batch.
Truthfully, I don’t enjoy the Bling-Bling, I don’t desire to eat lobster and caviar (although it’s good). I like my simple walks with my dogs: Sunny & Etta. It’s important to call for them in that order not to bring geographical confusion, ha.”
Note from the interviewer: Etta Sunny reads États-Unis which translates into United-States. You’re welcome.
WHAT MAKES E-O PHILOSOPHY SO EXTRA-ORDINARY?
“Who but Extra-Ordinaire presents fashion and design like it does? From unusual or offset objects coming from around the world to proposing Yoga classes, who does that? For me, E-O radiates with joy, it highlights talent, from designers to craftswomen and craftsmen and it has that local touch of surrealist humor which is well-known in Belgium.”
Interview and writing done by Richaad Kindts