Current events

1st International ceramics symposium "Art Course: Clay Meal"


The main objective of Symposium is to create knowledge and practice exchange environment for artists interested in unique combinations of ceramic design and culinary art and support the growing demand for unique tableware by creating art works that may be used for serving food, thus exploring the synergy of aesthetic experiences and gastronomic pleasures.

The 13 day Symposium with ceramics Masters Vincent Kempenaers and Inita Reimandova is conceptually based in on the notion of clay as a justified art value with a unique role in the processes of preparing and serving food. Contemporary aspects to the content of the Symposium are added by the fact that nowadays with the development of culinary practices it is difficult to draw a border between art and food.

Both ceramics and food can become means of self expression and source of inspiration, both have a story to tell, an idea to manifest and embody. Ceramics as well as food feeds us: in one case we talk about physiological and biological processes, while in the other – about feeding our inner self, our perception, consciousness and imagination. Clay, originating from earth and evolving through artist’s hands is the perfect material for the embodiment of artist’s own vision on food and the boundless possibilities of culinary. It creates a desire to view each piece of tableware not as kitchen equipment, but as independent art object with immense added value.



Vincent Kempenaers is a ceramist and a teacher in an art school in Brussels. Vincent is working with clay since 1983, and participating in exhibitions since 1990.

Since 2005 Vincent has been creating tableware, first in stoneware, but finally in porcelain. Vincent works with different porcelains – Limoges porcelain, as well as porcelain from England for making slabs. Often an extruder is used. The decoration is realized in several stages: first engraved stamps are made in plaster or in clay. After the first decoration, molds made from throwed pots are used to give the pieces their form. After drying, different colored porcelain slips are applied by using trailers. When the pieces are fired, decoration is continued with oxides crayons and then a transparent glaze.

Vincent has participated in different biennials and exhibitions, creating various sculptures from mixed materials as participative artworks, where local inhabitants and visitors of the exhibitions were involved in some way or another. After these large scale works, Vincent started to work on plywood birch panels by gluing elements of porcelain from the same process used for the tableware. Some bowls are used to start the form, then porcelain slabs are built. The panels allow for Vincent to draw directly without going through the stage of firing. A further step was taken by allowing the elements on the panel to move, every time recreating a new vision. These artworks Vincent calls “table gardens”.

At the same time, Vincent enjoys sketching in small notebooks. These drawings are then scanned and worked on computer to be used as repeating patterns on his sculptures, or found on postcards, t-shirts, etc. – a world still in progress.


Inita Reimandova has studied at the Faculty of Ceramics in Latvian Academy of Arts and in 1998 at the Academy Inita graduated Peteris Martinsons ceramics. Her Diploma work was a monumental chamot group “Theatre classics” which later by the initiative of the Latvian association of actors was turned into a prize to be awarded by the association annually since 1998. Since 1997 Inita is a member of Latvian Artists Union and in 2015 was elected as a Board member.

In the period from 1998 till 2002 Inita was part of the Kipsala ceramics – workshop of professional Latvian ceramists. In 2003 Inita participated in International workshop in ceramic art in Tokoname, Japan, which Inita remembers as one of the most beautiful times of her professional life. In 2013 Inita represented Latvia at the Symposium with Masters Peteris Martinsons and Ilona Romule – Feminine and Masculine Ceramics, which was held in Zvartava, Latvia. Inita has also participated in numerous china painting masterclasses held by various international ceramists.

Inita spends a lot of time teaching the new generation. She teaches ceramics and porcelain painting in Riga school of practical aesthetics and Riga 64 secondary school.

Inita believes it was worth studying ceramics at the Latvian Academy of Arts for 10 years as now it allows her to embody her joy of life in clay, porcelain, forms and lines. Ceramics is the juice of her life, the blood in her veins. For Inita there is no summer without a Symposium and she is absolutely overwhelmed with the possibility to invite you all to Vaidava, where she has spent many of her summers, enjoying the larch and oak tree alleys, the magic of the lake and the molding and lathing the charming local clay.


The Symposium is organized in partnership with Vaidava Ceramics which is a small family enterprise where experienced artisans make beautiful and functional tableware that show respect towards its historic production cycle and design that challenges the pace of life and quickly changing trends.

The foundations of Vaidava Ceramics can be traced back to 1980, when a subsidiary building in Vaidava was transformed for the needs of the ceramics production. Six years later an energetic and promising new specialist Janis Balodis became the production manager of this place. The job is his passion and since late 1990ties this small ceramics production site has been the Balodis family enterprise for more than 20 years. The current Vaidava Ceramics manager Miks Balodis, the middle son of Janis Balodis, has grown up among plaster forms, steel lathes and clay heaps.

Artisans, masters and other employees have grown into one family as many of them have been working for the company for many years. People are the main asset of Vaidava Ceramics and one of the goals of the enterprise is to keep the countryside of Latvia alive and populated. Therefore the production site continues working in Vaidava and employing the local people.

The strength of Vaidava Ceramics comes from Latvian nature as the main raw material used in production is Latvian red clay which is brought from the nearby clay quarry. Vaidava Ceramics maintains a strongly established tradition of making Latvian natural ceramics and aims at preserving it for the future. Vaidava Ceramics is one of the few ceramics production sites left in Latvia that represents Latvia style handmade natural ceramics for more than 35 years. The goal is to inspire everyone to use ceramic tableware for everyday use thus combining its great value and aesthetic enjoyment.

Vaidava Ceramics factory is located in Vaidava, Koceni Municipality. Vaidava lies between the lake Vaidava and river Gauja. Vaidava lake boasts with a popular and well-maintained white sand beach, campsites, picnic areas and an open-air amphitheatre, while the right bank of the river Gauja boasts with the Sietiniezis Rock – one of the highest white sandstone outcrops in Latvia, being 15 meters high and around 0,5 kilometers long. Around the site you can enjoy various trekking trails, finding small caves and grottos, as well as gullies and pillar-like formations or you may simply admire the scenic pine forests surrounding the river valley.

In the protected area of Gauja National park, at the northeast of the lake Vaidava there is a 22 m steep mound. Wooden building fragments, jewellery and tableware have been found during archaeological excavations in Vaidava mound dating from the 13th century. Near the entrance of the mound there is a field of approximately 30 stones. Among the stones a hollow stone has been found, therefore it is assumed that Vaidava mound is to be considered an ancient cult site.

Vaidava also has two beautiful larch alleys, which are included in the list of State protected cultural monuments – Podzenu alley, which is also the longest larch alley in the whole Latvia and Palmenu alley.

In Vaidava you will also find a culture and crafts centre, a library, Vaidava boarding school, post office, medical service and a grocery store for your convenience. The locals are very active – they have a Vaidava thriatlon cup, a novus club, regular skiing and speed ice skating championships and each summer a 11,7 km marathon around the lake Vaidava is organized – if you will be bored at the Symposium, you will be able to try your hand at the “35th run around Lake Vaidava”.

For more information see Vaidava Ceramics webpage and Latvia Travel webpage.


Detailed Symposium programme, workplan is available for download here - Symposium work plan.


1. Arta Baltā/ Latvia
2. Laima Grigone/ Latvia
3. Astrid Michel-Zwick/ Switzerland
4. Cara Janelle/ USA, Spain
5. Giorgi Pachkoria/ Georgia
6. Paula Suco/ Argentina
7. Martha Cashman/ Ireland
8. Kirsti Grotmol/ Norway
9. Perihan Şan Aslan/ Turkey
10. Yeşim Zümrüt/ Turkey
11. Evren Karayel Gökkaya/ Turkey
12. Oner Kamil Gökkaya/ Turkey
13. Shanyar Abdullah Salman Algarad/ Jordan
14. Irina Rudaia/ Russia
15. Cenita Sajaniemi/ Finland
16. Ronit Zohar/ Israel
17. Dorit Ben-tov/ Israel


The Symposium language will be English (French, Russian and Latvian is possible upon demand).


Work facilities at Vaidava Ceramics consist of cloakroom with toilet and shower (separately for men and women) and one large production hall divided by shelves into smaller units. This space will be shared among all Symposium participants. Each Symposium participant will have his/her own workplace. Weather permitting it will also be possible to set up a work place outside on a roof-covered terrace.

Basic tools for common use such as bowls, sponges, plastics, table wheels and other tools will be available. Please bring along your own personal and favourite tools and work clothes.

There are 5 electric pottery wheels available. Two electric kilns (H=100 cm and W=100 cm) for firing at 1030 C are at the disposal of Symposium participants. There are planned up to 9 kilns to be fired during the Symposium. It is possible to have extra firings for a fee if the programme schedule allows that.


Each participant will receive 50-70 kg of red clay (local). Engobes (various) as well as food safe glazes will be available.


The artworks will have to be created, based on the developed dinner menu. In total 280 plates, bowls, cups, etc. for 9 different meals for the Gala dinner and several larger scale serveware objects for the brunch will have to be made, so each artist will be expected to deliver at around 17-20 objects during the Symposium. Detailed instructions will be given by the chef Dzintars Kristovskis on the first day of the Symposium, however, no strict guidelines will be given, except the expected volume and possible forms, description of the particular meal, its ingredients and some insights on how the prepared food will look. You will also have the possibility to create other table design objects and tableware, if time, energy and materials will allow for that.

From all the created tableware 2/3 of the works will have to be donated to be further used in the Valmiermuiza Beer Kitchen which is run by the Chef Dzintars Kristovskis and presented to other Symposium sponsors and supporters. The rest of the works will be left at Symposium participants’ own disposal. If interested, artists will be invited to sell some of the works to Gala dinner and brunch guests.


Symposium cost includes also accommodation in Vaidava boarding school dormitory. The dormitory is situated in nice park on the very lakeside with direct access to the swimming facilities. Accommodation is located approx. 300 m from the Vaidava Ceramics factory, where the Symposium workplaces will be set.

At the disposal of Symposium participants are shared rooms with shared facilities. All rooms and facilities (incl. showers and toilets) are newly renovated.

Soft blankets and pillows as well as nice white bed linen and towels will be provided.


Full Symposium fee is 385 EUR all inclusive. The fee includes accommodation, full board catering, local transport from/to Riga, individual work place, all ceramic materials mentioned above, firing costs and participation at the final brunch performance with Chef Dzintars Kristovskis and invited guests. Please note that these costs include also the assistance of technical staff for kiln packing and firing.

We strongly encourage you to make applications to arts councils and funding organisations for artists to offset some of the costs of your participation at the Symposium.


For those who need entrance visa to Latvia we will provide visa invitations. Please check if you need a visa on our Office of Citizenship and Migration Affair webpage. Please note that visa application process can take up to 3 weeks. Please do it in good time to be able to receive your entrance visas in good time. For invitations we need the following information:

  • Your name and surname as it is in your passport – we will use data from your application form. Please double check the spelling in your passport and application form
  • Your birth data (dd/mm/yyyy) – we will use data from your application form
  • Your birth place – please send us name of your birth town and country
  • Your passport number, date of issue and date of passport validity (it should be at least 3 month from your planned departure date from Latvia!!!)
  • Your home address (apartment and house number, town, index, country)

Cost for visa invitation is 10 EUR and this should be paid beforehand.


In order to involve the local community on the 3rd of July an open event “3 kilns” will be held in Vaidava, where local artists and art school pupils will be invited to participate. During the event it is planned to build and fire 3 pop-up paper kilns, organize a creative clay masterclass for children, a workshop by Assistant Professor Perihan Şan Aslan from Abant Izzet Baysal University and a presentation by Giorgi Pachkoria from Georgia.


There will be no taught sessions during the Symposium.

The Symposium is suitable for all levels of ceramics experience.

We kindly ask you not to send anything to us or Vaidava Ceramics in a parcel by mail because of excessive customs fees and other difficulties. Please, bring everything with you in your luggage! If you have any questions, please, do not hesitate to contact us.

Both ends of the year are white, and the middle is green - this is how national poet Ojārs Vācietis described Latvia! The weather in summer usually is warm and sunny – the average day temperature in the summer is around 20 C/ 68 F and you can definitely plan lovely morning baths in Vaidava lake, which is nearby the boarding school dormitory.

Vaidava is located in Gauja National Park and there are many beautiful options for trekking, cycling, etc.

Please follow the news on our webpage or Facebook page or please send us an email to stating that you would like to receive regular updates about the Symposium!

Let's meet in Vaidava!
Creativity mecca team