Denise Hermo is a graphic designer and experiments with ceramics, all in a studio with a view on the Atomium.
How often do you work in your studio? Do you sometimes work elsewhere?
I work both as a graphic designer and as craftswoman here in my studio, so chances are you'll find me there most of the time - at least until 5pm, when I have to pick up my daughter. I go to the studio every day effortlessly. It is my playground, and I take 'playing' very seriously.
On the other hand, conceiving and sketching works mostly happen outside the house. So my bed, bars, parks, planes, waiting rooms, etc. are also my workplaces.
Do you have a set way of working in your studio?
I don't have a fixed way of working in the studio. I probably first unwind, drink tea and plan what I want to finish that day. Then I really get to work. My notebook is full of sketches of pieces I want to make, so the studio time is for fleshing out, experimenting and executing those ideas. (Pace is everything. Since having a child, I can't float on clouds. You concentrate and make the most of the time you have).
The state of the studio is my mental state.
At the end of the day, there are two possible scenarios: either the studio is a battlefield or it is immaculately clean, there is no middle ground. The state of the studio is my mental state. When the work is done, I think it is very important to tidy everything up, organise it and clear the space for what comes next. But when I am working on something, clutter is welcome.
Does your studio influence the work you make?
The environment always plays a role in the work you make. Elements like the light, smells, sounds and dominant colours around you inevitably influence your mood. Although there are five of us working here, this space is super quiet.
I hope that this peace and calm is in some way reflected in the work I make. The chirping of the birds, the church bell, the light flooding the space and the smell of the glycine in spring are the extra flavouring for the recipe. Not to mention the flamboyant view of the Atomium! It's a kind of mental note that reminds me of the values I stand for. Frenetic modernist progress has seldom been my thing.
What does your dream studio look like?
A modest hut in a beautiful wild garden with some big old trees all around. But I don't know yet whether it will be in the southern or northern hemisphere.