Re//Store Sisterhood: SkandiHus
I absolutely love beautiful ceramic design and Stine Dulong’s artisanal work ticks all the boxes. Her SkandiHus homeware is all handmade from her gorgeous studio in leafy De Beauvoir Town (I mean, isn’t that the most idyllic name for a ceramic design studio location…) in East London. I first met Stine via my dear friend who runs Symmetry Breakfast and have been admiring her wonderful plates on this account right from the start. I could picture every single dish that I produce with Re//Store Kitchen on these and was delighted to finally meet her in person at the Symmetry Boy’s magical wedding. It was such a pleasure to visit Stine in her work space surrounded by all her beautiful products, golden sun light filtering through the warehouse windows whilst I was repressing the urge to buy every. single. plate. in her studio. It is possible to make this wonderful craft your own as she also teaches to all levels from this gorgeous and creative space and I can’t imagine a nicer teacher than Stine. Make sure you have a look at her website to check out her work, shop and the classes she has on offer. Beware, it is all very, very tempting….
How would you describe your personal style?
As there is a sea of black in my wardrobe and a distinct monochrome theme in my home, I probably can’t deny that my personal style is pretty Scandinavian. I try to wear more colours though as I always admire other people who do.
And the style of your brand?
SkandiHus is all about hand-made, high quality ceramics that are affordable, stylish and relevant to how we live now. I tend to work with light colours inspired by my childhood in Denmark and I seek to make that understated impact of beautiful utilitarian Scandinavian design.
What made you decide to design ceramics?
I worked in the City of London as a business crime lawyer for years, never quite feeling fulfilled or happy. I often felt like I went into work every day to perform a role that was written for someone else. I always wanted to be an artist but somehow ended up following a different path. Whilst still working as a lawyer, I decided to do various evening courses and one of them was a pottery class. My teacher said that as soon as I touched the clay, she saw a look in my eyes that reminded her of when she was young and the instant love she had felt for the material. She was right. I knew instinctively that I had found where I was meant to be in life. I can’t really explain it other than there was simply no going back from that point onwards. This is about four years ago now.
What inspires you at the start of a new collection?
I think any new work that I produce is closely related to how I feel. My spring range was full of bright colours, which I think was reflective of having moved to a new studio and feeling full of hope, inspiration and energy.
Ironically, my biggest influence is not a ceramicist but an Austrian architect called Adolf Loos, who influenced modern architecture by designing stripped-down buildings in the 1900s. In his time, he advocated for clearing the world of unnecessary ornaments to “show the way” for the modern human being. He was not against good craftsmanship but rather detected the way craftsmen were forced to waste their time on ornamentation that served to hasten the time when an object would become obsolete. For him, the distinction was not between complicated and simple designs but rather between “organic” and superfluous decorations. I try to adhere to these principles in my work, as I believe that quality design should be affordable, stylish and relevant to the modern human being by providing minimal distraction and maximum functionality and beauty.
When you design and produce your ceramics do you have a sustainable approach? And how do you put this in process?
It is very important to me to minimise my impact on the world in which I live, so I reuse materials whenever possible and many of my pieces are made from reclaimed waste clay from my students. All my pieces are made by hand in my studio in Hackney.
What is the favourite element of your job? And biggest challenge?
I reckon that one of my biggest challenges is to refrain from the temptation of only doing production pottery because it’s an obvious means to an end (i.e. being able to pay the bills) and then losing the creative joy of designing and making something new.
Another challenge for me has been to balance making a living with keeping my products affordable. It is also sometimes a challenge to both run a business and have time to still be a maker.
The biggest joy for me is to be able to make every day. If I am ever a bit bored (e.g. after wedging 50 balls of clay!), I remind myself that the alternative is to sit in an office all day and then I quickly feel very humble and fortunate again!
Do you practice mindfulness and in what way?
In terms of what pottery represents to me, I think that it is closely connected to the journey I have had from a busy high flying career to a more grounded and “present’ path. I once read an Immanuel Kant quote saying that “the hand is the window on to the mind” and I had one of those “yes, exactly that” moments. For me, the making process (trying, failing and trying again) gives me an understanding and fulfilment that I never experienced before. I think that when I started making ceramics, I stopped running away from things for the first time in my life. When I am making, I am there in the moment, “staying” with what I am doing. I have since read a lot about mindfulness and been on various courses and retreats and it’s been the most fantastic journey into something I think that I intuitively always knew to be a better approach to life.
What is your favourite indulgence within the world of wellness.
My Nutribullet! I’m a little obsessed with coming up with new recipes and I make one every morning.
What do you listen to at the moment?
Maggie Rogers – it’s such a beautiful album.
I think that when I started making ceramics, I stopped running away from things for the first time in my life. When I am making, I am there in the moment, “staying” with what I am doing.
Could you recommend an organic / local produce cafe / restaurant in your area?
I love the organic bone broth from Borough Broth Company. The founder, Ros Heathcote, incidentally has had a similar journey to me. She quit her high flying IT career to make organic bone broth and I recently spotted it in Selfridges so she’s obviously doing really well. Respect!
Where do you go to shop for clothes / accessories?
To be honest, I very rarely go shopping these days. It’s part of the wider life changes that I have made, that I live my life more minimal, which means buying less stuff.
Who would you like to see on here in the future?
I would like to see Ros (mentioned above) on here as I am in full admiration for what she has done and I fully support her local, ethical and organic approach to business.
What is your favourite plant based / Vegetarian recipe?
Spinach & Pesto Pasta
180gm cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Spinach and Pesto sauce
150gm Baby spinach
30gm Fresh basil leaves
1 Garlic cloves, finely grated
100ml Extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ Lemon
40gm Pine nuts, toasted
40gm aged Parmesan
3 Tablespoons double cream
good pinch nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper
250gm Rigatoni pasta
Preheat the oven to 140C fan
Line a small oven tray with greaseproof paper. Lay the cherry tomatoes cut side up. Drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with the oregano. Season with a little salt and pepper too. Place in the oven for 1hour and 15 minutes.
Meanwhile make the Pesto sauce. Place the spinach, basil, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice into a jug blender or food processor. Add half the pine nuts and half the grated parmesan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and blend until smooth.
When the tomatoes are cooked, remove them from the oven and leave to cool.
Boil the rigatoni in boiling salted water until al dente, this should take around 12 minutes.
Place the pesto in the bottom of a large non-stick frying pan and bring up to a simmer. Add the double cream and nutmeg and stir well. Drain the rigatoni and add the hot pasta to the sauce, toss well to coat the pasta. Add half the cherry tomatoes to the sauce, stir well and serve into bowls. Garnish with the remaining parmesan, pine nuts and cherry tomatoes to serve.
Recipe by Nicole Herft
Food Stylist and Chef
Author of “THE HEALTHY HEDONIST” By Kyle Books & “Little Italy” By Hardie Grant
Food Stylist on Weinstein Film “Burnt”
Thank you Stine for the great chat and showing me your magical work space, I look forward to artfully plate more of my dishes onto your stunning work and potentially join your class in the near future!
Interview and photos by Maaike Mekking www.maaikemekking.com