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Denise Frankinet

(1922-2016) born and lived in Leuven, Belgium
Teapot, 1971
salt glazed stoneware, 10.5 x 7.5 x 5 inches, 93.39.123

In the spring of 1971, under the auspices of the International Academy of Ceramics, the Tennessee Arts Commission pledged its support for the promotion and establishment of the U.S. International Ceramics Symposiums. The Symposium’s mission to help develop a worldwide network of support for ceramic art was achieved by bringing together top ceramic artists from around the world for a month-long sharing of ideas and creation of innovative ceramics.


Left: Denise Frankinet builds a stoneware teapot at the 1973 International Ceramics Symposium. Right: Teapot, salt glazed stoneware, 9.5 x 9 x 5.75 inches, 93.39.124  

Frankinet represented Belgium at the First U.S. International Ceramics Symposium, which consisted of twenty-five artists from thirteen different countries, and was hosted in the summer of 1973 at the Memphis Academy of Art. While at the Symposium, she made a variety of traditional teapots and functional ware, as well as a unique set of cups and pitchers that stand upon tiny legs. She also constructed a large 100 x 26 inch wall panel, which consisted many shallow wheel-thrown forms, which were partially covered with white englobe and turquoise glaze and raku fired. The forms were then embedded in a mixture of gravel and cement, using hardware cloth as reinforcement for the panel.

In addition to her interest in ceramics, Frankinet also loved watercolor and poetry. After the symposium, she taught watercolor courses at the Academy of Fine Arts in Verviers, Belgium. In 2012 she published her first book, The Carlsbad Requiem, a historically grounded novel that deals with issues of Nazism and communism. Frankinet passed away in 2016.

Denise has worked in architectural murals and in designs for factories. Of her work, Denise says, “There are pots enough in the world I think. I prefer to think it over. I try to make fun I life and need to feel friendship around me before I can start my work. I hope one day I will make exactly the kind of pot I dream of.” – 1973 International Ceramic Symposium catalogue

Written by Aiden Layer, TN Arts Intern