History of SwanCeramic Blog

I created this site so I would be able to save my blog from my website with WordPress because I am creating a new website with Squarespace.com. When it is done I have to transfer my domain name http://www.swanceramics.com and then my old site will be gone.

On the new site is also a blog where I will continue my ceramics story.

Thank you for your interest and enjoy my former ceramic and some personal experiences.

Exhibition in Grang De Paul Art Gallery in the Netherlands

I would like to announce my exhibition in a group exhibition in the Grang De Paul Gallery in Den Bosch in the Netherlands from March 17 to April 29, 2017. The title of the exposition is: Astronomical and Meteorological Spring in March 2017″. The opening hours are on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 13:00 to 17:00 pm. The address is Handelskade 14, 5211TH, Den Bosch.

I made four 2-D Art works inspired by our universe. The technique used is the Glazed Horsehair Raku. I fire the glaze firing after the bisque firing at 1035 Celcius. When it cools down to 700 Celcius I take out the work and burn on the horsehair, sugar and spray with ferric chloride what give the brownish shining color.

2017 Feb 26 _ Galaxy _ Glazed Horsehair Raku _ 54cmx44xm _ Swanica Ligtenberg_1

“GALAXY” 54cm x 44cm









2017 Feb 26 _ Milky Way _ Glazed Horsehair Rakum _ 54cmx44cm _ Swanica Ligtenberg_1

“MILKY WAY” 54 x 44cm









2017 Feb 26 _ Star Galaxy _ Glazed Horshair Raku _ 64cmx49cm _ Swanica Ligtenberg_1

“STAR GALAXY” 64cm x 49cm








2017 Feb 26 _ The Birth of a Star _ Glazed Horsehair Raku_ 64cmx49cm _ Swanica Ligtenberg_1

“THE BIRTH of a STAR” 64cm x 49cm














Finally back in my workshop!

I am finally back into my workshop: my new workshop in the Netherlands!

It took us about 2 1/2 years of moving out of Japan, fixing up our American home for sale, preparing and dividing our household goods to go to an apartment in San Francisco and to our house in Holland, a total renovation of our Dutch home with finding an architect and contractor and a little more than a year of renovating.

We are and will be living in our Dutch home as well as our San Francisco apartment part of the time. We will continue to travel the world to see our children (1 grandson now in Chicago) and for work. Still a crazy life but a little bit more decided and settled! 🙂


New work: Movement in Clay.




Nepal Exhibition

Announcement of the Nepal Exhibition.

Some of my ceramic works I had left with a friend in Kamakura, Japan. Now I donated everything to my friend Steve Tootell who organizes an exhibition at the International School of the Sacred Heart in Tokyo of ceramic works from many well-known artists. The money of this charity event will go to Nepal!

“If you are in Tokyo please come to International School of the Sacred Heart and seize the opportunity to acquire remarkable works at super reasonable prices and support NEPAL SEEDS. Thanks to Euan Craig, Swanica Ligtenberg, Douglas Black, Charlie Odum, Kusakabe Masakazu, Joanna Tootell,The Shigas from Fukushima, Laura Inoue, Alberto Gnoli, Roni Veronica Ohara, David Frith, Margaret Frith, George Guine, Ben Brierly, Genevieve Halse, John Dix, Marianne Wilson, Steve Tootell, Dave Telke and many Mashiko potters.” by Steve Tootell.

Nepal Exhibition_2

Exhibition at the International School of the Sacred Heart.

Nepal 3
Nepal 4

My “Horsehair” work and “Kamakura-Red” work.


Firing One Kiln for Mashiko Potters


I finally returned after 2 years after moving out of Japan to Mashiko and met with Hamada Tomoo-san, the grandson of Hamada Shoji, a National Living Treasure who made Mashiko well-known. Hamada Shoji collected many historical items. They made a Reference museum, the Sankokan, with all his art works, art works from his friends and other important potters from Mashiko and his collections. This is on the grounds where Hamada Shoji worked and built a Noborigama (climbing) kiln. The museum and kiln suffered lots of damage from the March 11, 2011 earthquake.

2015-01-22_Tomoo-sanNearTheNoborigamaNow it is all repaired thanks to the help and gifts of many people and in celebration the Mashiko potters will fire the Noborigama. It will be a big festival! Many potters will get a little spot in the kiln and about 8000 pots will fit into the kiln. Euan Craig invited me to make a sake bottle what he will put into the kiln!! I am very exited!

They will fire the kiln for 5 days with 10 potters who are used to fire wood-fire kilns. And they will use pinewood which gets very hot.

2015-01-22_PinewoodForTheFiringThe kiln has not been fired for 40 years, so everybody is anxious to see what will happen and what the results will be.

Wish them all good luck!! Tomorrow the filling up of the kiln will start!


Mino Exposition 12 Sept – 19 October 2014

2014 Mino Announcement image1
The opening of the International Ceramics Festival in Mino Japan with the 10th International Ceramics Competition opened on September the 12th. Unfortunately, I could not be there, but my friend Shizuko-san did go see the exhibition with her husband and send me some pictures.2014 Mino announcement entrance1

A big banner with the announcement of the exposition when entering the Ceramics Art Museum of Mino.





2014 Mino Cutting of ribbon1

The cutting of the ribbon for the opening of the exhibition.





2014 Mino hall sketch

The Hall sketch of the exhibition. My boxes are shown all the way to the right.






2014 Mino catalog Swanica page1

My art works in the Catalogue.



2014 Mino Catalog Swanica page2

A close-up picture of my “Duo Horsehair Ferric boxes”.


2014 MINO Honorable Mention Award for the Duo Ferric Horsehair Boxes

4) MINO Duo Ferric Horsehair boxes_S.Ligtenberg_1



In October and November 2013 I made horsehair box sets for the 10th Mino International Ceramics Competition for 2014.

In December I made lots of pictures of the boxes. I submitted 6 series of pictures to the competition.
In Februari I heard that the Duo Ferric Horsehair Boxes made the first round.

4a) MINO Duo Ferric Horsehair boxes_S.Ligtenberg_1



In May the Duo Ferric Horsehair Boxes passed the 2nd round.
End of June I had to send the boxes to Mino.




4b) MINO Duo Ferric Horsehair boxes_S.Ligtenberg_1



On July 26 I got an email with the acceptance into the competition out of 3000 submissions. The boxes received the Honorable Mention Award and will be part of the exhibition with 100 artists and displayed in the Ceramics Museum of Mino from September 12 to October 19, 2014.

2014 Horsehair Boxes

I made horsehair box sets in October and November 2013 for the

4) MINO Duo Ferric Horsehair boxes_S.Ligtenberg_1Mino International Ceramics Competition for 2014. I didn’t publish those boxes because it takes a while to go through the process of the competition. And of course I first didn’t know if they were going to choose a composition and then secondly how far this would make it because there are 3 rounds. It is a long wait but it was worth it. On July 26, 2014 they notified me that the “Duo Ferric Horsehair Box set” had won the Honorable Mention Award and will be part of the 100 artists exhibition at the Mino Ceramics Museum in Japan.

1) MINO Trio White Horsehair Boxes_1


1a) MINO Trio White Horsehair Boxes_1





“Trio White Horsehair Boxes”.


2) MINO Trio White Horsehair boxes with black lids_1

2a) MINO Trio White Horsehair boxes with black lids_1







“Trio White Horsehair Boxes with fumed* black lids”.


3) MINO Sakura White Horsehair  Box_1

3b) MINO Sakura White Horsehair  Box_1






“Sakura White Horsehair Box with black glazed lid”.


5) MINO Quintet Ferric Horsehair Boxes with black lids_1

5a) MINO Quintet Ferric Horsehair Boxes with black lids_1




“Quintet Ferric Horsehair Boxes with fumed* black lids”.


6) MINO Trio Ferric Horsehair Boxes with black lids_16b) MINO Trio Ferric Horsehair Boxes with black lids_1







“Trio Ferric Horsehair Boxes with fumed* black lids”.


*Fumed: I wrap one bisque-fired lid in heavy aluminum foil filled with sawdust. I put this on the upper shelf in the kiln, turn on the fast mode and leave the lid a little bit open. The sawdust wants to burn. There is not enough oxygen to develop flames and it will only smoke. This stays in the aluminum foil and goes into the lid and colors it black. The black is carbon. I take the package out around 1000F. If higher the carbon will be burned out and the lid will be white again. It is an amazing process. The inside of the kiln will also turn black a little bit but it will burn all out at high temperature.