Thomas Benirschke (1954 born in Eltville / Germany) made a pottery apprenticeship with Walburga Külz in Erbach / Rheingau from 1970 to 1973. Walburga Külz was a student of Otto Lindig, Bauhaus. From 1976 to 1981 he studied ceramic design at the Fachhochschule Wiesbaden and completed his studies with a diploma. Since 1981 he worked as a freelance artist in the field of plastic sculpture and ceramics in his independent workshop in Kiedrich / Rheingau. Since 1999, he has been developing interactive art events, called 'Four-handed throwing on the Magic Pottery Wheel'.
Helmrichs Mühle, Eltviller Straße 4b
tel: +49 (0) 6123 / 39 55
1 | magic pottery wheel
2 | events
3 | workshops
4 | sharing experience
5 | pots
6 | ceramic sculpture
7 | sculpture
8 | artist portrait
I am my own exhibit. While I am working with the public, I will occasionally use earth like items as tools, which I find in my immediate local environment. Sometimes I use molehills as a base material for the project at hand.
The “Magic Pottery Wheel” has been crafted from found and gathered objects that carry their own stories. Its efficiency unfolds during use:
This is a hands-on experience for the participants. They become part of what is happening.
This is how the Magic Pottery Wheel works, from the imagination to accomplishment: Each person does his or her own sketch/ drawing as a model.
As guidance, I sometimes start by having them draw potatoes, vegetables or simply curves… The latter will be worked into pictures of pots, vessels, and figures.
The ideas manifest in their own reality once they are on the wheel.
At one end a person cranks the handle on the machine and on the other side we throw sculptures and vessels with the fourhanded method.
Simple contact with mud and earth on the rotating pottery wheel creates a tranquil and calming effect when one is in direct contact and motion with the other participants and materials.
Communication happens effortlessly and intuitively. A gesture, signs, looks and touch are sufficient. I also carry out this work with clay, people and potter’s wheels in my studio during courses and workshops.
Core themes: Fine tuning of small motor skills, mindfulness, concentration, intuition and the physical sensory input of handling the clay. Enhanced self-esteem is gained through experience and ability.
Motto: Open ears, open eyes.
Art that won't flow and grow will stiffen and cease
Text by Carl-Friedrich Krüger
When I first met Thomas Benirschke many years ago, he was just beginning to question himself, his purpose and his work. Suddenly, it didn’t satisfy him any more to create pots, vases and figurines. A faint glimmer of his destiny appeared in his mind, it lingered and remained fantasy until it could be realized.
At the end of the 90s, he left his workshop and together with his self-crafted mobile pottery wheel in tow, he began a journey to meet people, his new fans. Out doors, in piazzas, at festivals and many different events, he opened himself to the world, and the world opened itself to him. This world was as big and endless as his imagination and he traversed it with open eyes and ears.
His creativity knew no bounds, back then just like today. When he works with people at his magic pottery wheel, using his fourhanded method and when with his gentle guidance something new and unique is being created. This is how he knows he is on the right path. He experiences a deep sense of satisfaction becoming one with the people and their dreams, while together they are shaping the earth by hand.
I believe Thomas’ inner child is alive and well, and that is why he is able to charm little and big people alike, whether in a market in Morocco, at a fair in Vienna, or in the Schiller Square in Mainz. As someone who has been enchanted, he can enchant anyone he meets. Shared dreams are made real and visible via the magic of clay, earth, colour, form and sculpture with the fourhanded method.
Despite how fun, easy and playful this activity is, one should not underestimate the educational value and significance of this work.
My friend Thomas Benirschke has found his calling in life. He is his very own exhibit and expresses himself freely and authentically. His pottery wheel is transformed into his very own wheel of life.
Ce-eff Krüger is founder of today’s Mainzer Forum-Theater unterhaus.
Thomas Benirschke on the Road with his Magic Pottery Wheel
selection of events in germany
Aschaffenburg, Afrika Festivals
Berlin, Berliner XVI. und XVIII. Gauklerfest, Unter den Linden 2006/07
Bonn, LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn. Rheinisches Landesmuseum für Archäologie, Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte, Familientag 2015
Bürgel / Thüringen, Keramik-Museum / Neueröffnung, Töpfermärkte
Detmold, Lippisches Landesmuseum, Archäologische Landesausstellung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Revolution Jungsteinzeit / Neolithic Revolution 2017
Frankfurt am Main, Museumsuferfeste, Städelsches Kunstinstitut
Frankfurt, Waldorfkindergarten – Niederursel
Frechen, KERAMION, Töpfermärkte
Gera, Museumsnacht, Museum für Angewandte Kunst 2003
Hanau, Hessisches Puppenmuseum
Hagen, Westfälisches Freilichtmuseum
Herne, Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Archäologie, Nacht der Industriekulturen, Museumsgeburtstag 2013, URUK - 5000 Jahre Megacity 2014, Aberglaube-Künstlerwerkstatt XXL 2015, Revolution Jungsteinzeit 2017
Herxheim, Museum Herxheim 2017
Höhr-Grenzhausen, Keramikmuseum Westerwald, Keramikmärkte
Karlsruhe, Schloss, Museumsfest Badisches Landesmuseums 2013
Koblenz, Bundesgartenschau 2011, Keramische Welten
Köln, Freie Waldorfschule Köln
Künzelsau, 60 Jahre Würth, Museum Würth 2005
Mainz, Ministerpräsident Kurt Beck’s children’s feasts
Mainz, Freie Waldorfschule Mainz (Finthen)
Mainz, 5. Rheinland-Pfälzische Kunstmesse, Phönixhalle 2002
Mainz, 6. Rheinland-Pfälzische Kunstmesse, Kunst direkt 2004, Rheingoldhalle
München, Tollwood Festival 1999
Münster, Freilichtmuseum Mühlenhof
Mützingen / Wendland, Mützingenta 2009/13/15
Neustadt / Pfalz, Jubiläum 175 Jahre Hambacher Schloss 2007
Rietberg, Landesgartenschau 2008, Gartenschaupark in series till 2017
Rückersdorf / Nürnberg, 6. Kalkspatz-Symposium - therapeutische und pädagogische Möglichkeiten in Ton 2001
Schloss Hamborn, Freie Waldorfschule Schloss Hamborn
Schloss Löwenstein, FleishmanHillard Germany, AllStaff 2016
Schmalkalden, Landesgartenschau 2015
Weilburg, Hessentag 2005
Wiesbaden, Freie Waldorfschule Wiesbaden (Biebrich)
Witten, Rudolf-Steiner-Schule Witten
Worms, Jazz & Joy Jazzfestivals
selection of events in europe
Aubagne / France, Argillà 2013/15/17/19
Faenza / Italy, Argillà Italia, 2010/12/14/16/18
Florence / Italy, Fiera Internationale della Ceramica 2017
Gmunden am Traunsee / Austria, Österreichischer Töpfermarkt 2006/07/13/15/16/17/18/19
Gouda / Netherlands, Goudse Keramiek Dagen 2008 - 2016
Graz / Austria, Claydays, 1., 2. Internationaler Töpfermarkt 2007/08
Gruyères / Switzerland, arts du feu 2015
Milsbeek / Netherlands, Keramisto, Internationaler Keramikmarkt 2014
Montelupo (Fi) / Italy, Cèramica 2017 - Festa Internationale della Ceramica di Montelupo
Nove / Italy, Open Gates, Pottery Festival 2013
Paris / France, IDSP Internationale Deutsche Schule Paris, Villa Kunterbunt 2013/15
Raeren / Belgium, Töpfereimuseum Raeren, 19. Euregio-Keramikmarkt 2013
Regensberg / Switzerland, Keramik- und Töpfermarkt 2012/15
Rome / Italy, Associazione Peter Pan Onlus 2017
Rufford / England, Earth & Fire Ceramic Fair 2014
Windisch / Switzerland, Museum Aargau - Kloster Königsfelden, Experience History on Site 2013
"Mu-Art, Bau der Spargelsphinx / Rising of the Asparagus Sphinx", project with children, Schloss Reinhartshausen, Eltville-Erbach/Rheingau
"Ein Fisch auf Reisen / Fish Travelling", street action, Frankfurt am Main, München
"Ein Tonbeet auf dem Freudenberg / A Clay Bed at Freudenberg", Schlosspark Freudenberg, Wiesbaden
"Töpfer im Urlaub / Potters on Holiday", street action on a tandem bicycle with a potter’s wheel at the 25. Österreichischer Töpfermarkt, Gmunden, Austria
"Un bes in bizicleta / A Kiss on Bike", street action at the ARGILLA ITALIA 2014 in Faenza
workshop, participatory activity "Experimental Archaeologie" at "Extraschicht", Archäologische Landesausstellung Nordrhein-Westfalen "Revolution Jungsteinzeit / Neolithic Revolution", Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Archäologie, Herne
ARGI-Bike, throwing pots on a moving bike, Stop & Go Street Action with Davide Brini, ARGILLÀ ITALIA, Faenza 2018
ARGI-Bike, throwing pots on a moving bike, Stop & Go Street Action with Davide Brini, GERMANY PREMIERE, Eltville am Rhein
ARGI-Bike, throwing pots on a moving bike, Stop & Go Street Action with Davide Brini, EROICA GERMANIA, Eltville am Rhein/ Erbach
exhibitions / participations
1977, 1982, 1985, 1989
Höhr-Grenzhausen, Keramikmuseum Westerwald, Deutsche Keramik Westerwaldpreis – competitions
Saarbrücken, Saarland Museum, competition Richard Bampi Preis 78
1981, 1983, 1984
Ludwigshafen, Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, group exhibitions, inter alia Die Kaffeekanne
Frechen, Keramion, "KERAMIKPREIS", Frechener Kulturstiftung
Düsseldorf, Hetjens Museum, Deutsche Keramik heute
Darmstadt, Mathildenhöhe, Jugend formt Keramik
Châteauroux (France), 4ème Biennale de céramique
Freiburg, Galerie Schneider, Die Skulptur aus Ton ´88
Höhr-Grenzhausen, Keramikmuseum Westerwald, Förderpreis Keramik der Nassauischen Sparkasse ´91 – competition
Città di Castellamonte (Italy), Mostra della Ceramica ´92
Mainz, Forum-Theater Unterhaus, Ein Goldfisch im Kloster
Middelfart (Denmark), Keramikmuseet Grimmerhus, The Contemporary Teapot
Carouge/Genève (Switzerland), Museé de Carouge, La Théière céramique, Concours international de céramique
Wiesbaden-Erbenheim, Harlekins Fluxeum - kreuze & humor
Gera, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Keramik des 20. Jahrhunderts - Schenkung Welle
NEUE KERAMIK MAGAZIN: Walburga Külz, "Thomas Benirschke - Mit Gefäßen nichts im Sinn", Neue Keramik 7/91, S.436-437
NEUE KERAMIK MAGAZIN: Thomas Benirschke, "Mu-Art in Team aus dem Scherbengericht", Neue Keramik 7/97, S.418-423
NEUE KERAMIK MAGAZIN: Anette Keitz, "KUNST-Werke aus Erde", Neue Keramik 2/06, S.46-47
NEW CERAMICS MAGAZINE: 2008 B. D. Schneider, "A Clay Bed at Freudenberg", New Ceramics 1/08, p.40-41
NEW CERAMICS MAGAZINE: Thomas Benirschke, "International Understanding at the Potter's Wheel", meetings with potters in Morocco, New Ceramics 4/09 p.60-63
NEW CERAMICS: Thomas Benirschke, "International Understanding at the Potter's Wheel II", meetings with potters in Morocco, New Ceramics 1/11 p.62-65
NEW CERAMICS MAGAZINE: Carl-Friedrich Krüger, "Art that does not change stagnates", New Ceramics 6/16 p.22-23
NEW CERAMICS MAGAZINE: Elisabetta Scubla, "Thomas Benirschke and his Magic Potter's Wheel in Rome", New Ceramics 2/18 p.48
LA CERAMICA MODERNA & ANTICA: Elisabetta Scubla, IL TORNIO MAGICO, seminario di Thomas Benirschke all'associazione Peter Pan di Roma, 299/2018 - Pag.71