This is a story about an encounter between man and earth.
The last firing of the kiln 'Ko No Yama'.
Two years of dialogue with the clay.
Nine days of fire.
Nine days of rest in the whispers of the wind
Earth Memory is a poetic documentary about the encounter between ceramicist and master potter Steen Kepp and the clay. With the project 'Terre Memoire' (Earth Memory) he executes he last firing in his tunnel kiln 'Ko No Yama', in the internationally known pottery village La Borne in France. The film features selected verses from Lao Tzu's 'Tao Te Ching', read by Harald Leander.
The work of the artist Steen Kepp is influenced by traditional Japanese methods, acquired during several periods of study with masters in Japan and Korea. The tunnel kiln Ko No Yama was built for 'Yakishime' firing, in particular the Nanban method. Steen Kepp is one of very few European ceramicists to master this technique.
The film evolves around nine days of firing, making flashbacks through a two year process of preparations and design. The clay is shaped and transformed during a process influenced by the different elements. Towards the end, when the kiln has cooled down, the objects are revealed and taken out to be washed.
"I do not know whether it's the clay of the fire that tells the story.
When there will be no more clay I will stop.
When there will be no more fire I will stop."
Steen Kepp grew up in Denmark and was educated in France and Japan. He is at present based in Sweden and France, working and exhibiting internationally. His technique and style were developed during several periods of studying with master potters in Japan and a residence in Korea. In the 1970s Kepp constructed his tunnel kilm called 'Ko No Yama' ('the Child's Mountain') in La Borne, France. The kiln is built according to the traditional firing technique Yakishime, with a particular focus on the Nanban method, which was developed (and is still employed) in Japan.
Peggy Eklöf (born 1971) is a Swedish filmmaker and creative designer. She specializes in films on artists and their creative processes. To what extent are artists guided in their work by philosophical ideas, artistic influences and practical concerns? How does poetic expression emerge in artistic creation? Peggy Eklöf has portrayed a number of Swedish visual artists and ceramists in documentary films run in connection with their exhibitions. She has a university degree in interior design from Florence, Italy, where she also worked through the 1990s, relentlessly inspired by the imagery in classical architecture and art. Peggy Eklöf is also passionate about contemporary arts and from 2006 to 2010 she was the founder and chief editor of the Swedish art magazine Österlen 360°.