Artist Profiles

Artist:

Gyula Borsos

Region:

Europe and Eurasia

Country:

Hungary

Organization:

Folk Art Association of County Zala

Media/General:

Ceramics

Medium of Work:

Traditional green glazed ceremonial wine vessels, jugs and goblets

Year(s) Attended:

Santa Fe: 2018

About:

The richly colored, hypnotic ceramics of artisan Gyula Borsos are so uniquely polished in appearance that at first glance, they seem to be made of metal. In fact, the Hungarian artist uses locally sourced clay and a long-cherished, region-specific green glaze. All items are hand thrown on the potter’s wheel, and before they head for the kiln are decorated using natural materials like leaves. Inscriptions, whether liturgical or commemorative, are etched into the clay surface by hand.

Traditionally, Hungary’s Calvinist Church invited local peasant potters to create simple, modest vessels for ceremonial use. Over time, though, pottery practices evolved, with local artists forming guilds during the 18th and 19th centuries. What once were thought of as simple, utilitarian vessels became elaborately decorated and richly colored, and also began to feature that dazzling glaze which artisans like Gyula continue to use today.

“I was first taught by a master potter in my hometown at a weekend course,” says Gyula. After perfecting his pot-throwing technique, he began focusing specifically on traditional and historic types of Hungarian pottery. “Someday,” he says, “I would like to teach pottery besides making it so as to keep this beautiful and very rich traditional profession alive.” In addition to his exceptionally crafted and glazed decorative wares, Gyula makes vases, pitchers, and even stemmed glassware, all intended for use in everyday life.