Ludmila Harantová – Ceramic portraits

Exhibition duration: March 11th, 2014 – April 11th, 2015

She was born on April 27th, 1948, in Prague but has lived in Vysočina for the last nineteen years. She studied medicine and worked as a doctor-hygienist. As long as work and family duties allowed, she has devoted herself to ceramics and textile art techniques (silk painting, batik, weaving, bobbin weaving, etc.). She has been making pewter jewellery for the last few years and has become addicted to the magic of glass, winding beads using a glass torch. She has exhibited her work occasionally in Pacov, Dačice, Třešt’ (where she also exhibited ceramic nativity scenes and Christmas-themed products), Jihlava, Pelhřimov and elsewhere.

She created her sculptures either from a live model (Viki, Zuzana, a farmer from the Highlands, Evelina) or from her own imagination, e. g., “Suffering”, “Hope”, or inspired by the work of other artists. These include, for example, the set of sculptures named “Bridesmaid”, “Little Gypsy girl”, and “Old Gypsy woman”, commemorating the work of the painter Míla Doleželová. However, she did not copy the model but tried to capture the soul and the relationship of this ethnic group towards the outside world, expressed in the large, astonished eyes of the gypsy children, the deep wrinkles, the tired look, and the almost kind smile of the “Old Gypsy woman”. The artist prefers to model her works on live models because she can better capture their expressions.

What Ludmila Harantová has to say about her path to portrait modelling.

“I have loved ceramics since I was a child. However, there weren’t many ceramic groups; you couldn’t purchase clay very easily or got your items fired. It wasn’t until I was already working in the hygiene department that I met a trained ceramic artist to whom we had approved a workshop. We became friends, and she gave me a piece of clay. I made some buttons and figures for nativity scenes at home, and she fired them in her kiln. Then I tried making mugs under her guidance using a potter’s wheel. However, I’m not very precise or meticulous; thus, my mugs weren’t all the same. Therefore, I started making sculptures. All I need is someone to cook so I can tinker in my workshop for maybe 4 or 5 hours and not have to leave constantly to cook. Doing so, I lose inspiration, and when I get back in there again, I don’t know what I had wanted to do before I left. I totally understand why the real artists tended to live such messy lives.”