short biography

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'.

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address

Thomas Benirschke
Helmrichs Mühle, Eltviller Straße 4b
65399 Kiedrich
tel: +49 (0) 6123 / 39 55
t.benirschke(at)arcor(dot)de

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1 | magic pottery wheel

2 | events

3 | workshops

4 | sharing experience

5 | pots

6 | ceramic sculpture

7 | sculpture

8 | artist portrait

artist statement

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.

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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.

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Thomas Benirschke on the Road with his Magic Pottery Wheel

selection of events in germany

Aschaffenburg, Afrika Festivals

Carillonfeste, Kunsthandwerkermärkte

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

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selection of events in europe

Aubagne / France, Argillà 2013/15/17

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

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

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additional events

1996
"Mu-Art, Bau der Spargelsphinx / Rising of the Asparagus Sphinx", project with children, Schloss Reinhartshausen, Eltville-Erbach/Rheingau

1999
"Ein Fisch auf Reisen / Fish Travelling", street action, Frankfurt am Main, München

2007
"Ein Tonbeet auf dem Freudenberg / A Clay Bed at Freudenberg", Schlosspark Freudenberg, Wiesbaden

2013
"Töpfer im Urlaub / Potters on Holiday", street action on a tandem bicycle with a potter’s wheel at the 25. Österreichischer Töpfermarkt, Gmunden, Austria

2014
"Un bes in bizicleta / A Kiss on Bike", street action at the ARGILLA ITALIA 2014 in Faenza

2017
workshop, participatory activity "Experimental Archaeologie" at "Extraschicht", Archäologische Landesausstellung Nordrhein-Westfalen "Revolution Jungsteinzeit / Neolithic Revolution", Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Archäologie, Herne

2018
ARGI-Bike, throwing pots on a moving bike, Stop & Go Street Action with Davide Brini, ARGILLÀ ITALIA, Faenza 2018

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exhibitions / participations

1977, 1982, 1985, 1989
Höhr-Grenzhausen, Keramikmuseum Westerwald, Deutsche Keramik Westerwaldpreis – competitions

1978
Saarbrücken, Saarland Museum, competition Richard Bampi Preis 78

1981, 1983, 1984
Ludwigshafen, Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, group exhibitions, inter alia Die Kaffeekanne

1982
Frechen, Keramion, "KERAMIKPREIS", Frechener Kulturstiftung

1984
Düsseldorf, Hetjens Museum, Deutsche Keramik heute

1985
Darmstadt, Mathildenhöhe, Jugend formt Keramik

1987
Châteauroux (France), 4ème Biennale de céramique

1988
Freiburg, Galerie Schneider, Die Skulptur aus Ton ´88

1991
Höhr-Grenzhausen, Keramikmuseum Westerwald, Förderpreis Keramik der Nassauischen Sparkasse ´91 – competition

1992
Città di Castellamonte (Italy), Mostra della Ceramica ´92

1996
Mainz, Forum-Theater Unterhaus, Ein Goldfisch im Kloster

1997
Middelfart (Denmark), Keramikmuseet Grimmerhus, The Contemporary Teapot

1999
Carouge/Genève (Switzerland), Museé de Carouge, La Théière céramique, Concours international de céramique

1999, 2000
Wiesbaden-Erbenheim, Harlekins Fluxeum - kreuze & humor

2007
Gera, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Keramik des 20. Jahrhunderts - Schenkung Welle

and others

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magazines

1991
NEUE KERAMIK MAGAZIN: Walburga Külz, "Thomas Benirschke - Mit Gefäßen nichts im Sinn", Neue Keramik 7/91, S.436-437

1997
NEUE KERAMIK MAGAZIN: Thomas Benirschke, "Mu-Art in Team aus dem Scherbengericht", Neue Keramik 7/97, S.418-423

2006
NEUE KERAMIK MAGAZIN: Anette Keitz, "KUNST-Werke aus Erde", Neue Keramik 2/06, S.46-47

2008
NEW CERAMICS MAGAZINE: 2008 B. D. Schneider, "A Clay Bed at Freudenberg", New Ceramics 1/08, p.40-41

2009
NEW CERAMICS MAGAZINE: Thomas Benirschke, "International Understanding at the Potter's Wheel", meetings with potters in Morocco, New Ceramics 4/09 p.60-63

2011
NEW CERAMICS: Thomas Benirschke, "International Understanding at the Potter's Wheel II", meetings with potters in Morocco, New Ceramics 1/11 p.62-65

2016
NEW CERAMICS MAGAZINE: Carl-Friedrich Krüger, "Art that does not change stagnates", New Ceramics 6/16 p.22-23

2018
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