Born in Reykjavík, Iceland, Björk Haraldsdottir studied Architecture at the Glasgow School of Art and at the HochschulederKunstin Berlin and graduated with a Masters degree and the Glasgow Silver Medal for Architecture and then practised professionally in Reykjavik Edinburgh and London.
Björk’s pieces are hand-built vessels which are manifestations of the enduring themes of experience including architectural form, natural materiality, and Nordic pattern and folklore. The works are a conversation between the pseudo-perfection of geometric pattern and the tactile impurity of hand-manipulated clay. They are not sterile and porcelain-perfect but visceral mini monoliths, which have layers of complexity built into superficially simple constructions. `She deliberately creates warped planes through careful pattern cutting and jointing of would-be flat slabs so that vessels become subtly off-kilter. An overcoat of strong pattern tends to anaesthetise first impressions that they are organically shaped but the play of light, even across matt surfaces always belies a more expressive form. The vessels are mostly built in stoneware clay and painted with slip–black on stoneware or sometimes white on lava stone. This is then scraped back to reveal the base material in two-tone monochrome patterns, occasionally joined by a mid-tone painted slip to create more complex geometries. The scrape marks are visible and the surface is a plane of shallow relief, like an elaborate braille. The tactile nature of these pieces is important-they are an invitation to touch.