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Jessica Steinhäuser wins Craft Ontario Volunteer Committee Award


kachelofen 3
Photo credit: Dean Palmer

Congratulations to Jessica Steinhäuser, Ceramics program faculty at Haliburton School of Art + Design, for winning the Craft Ontario Volunteer Committee 40th Anniversary Award! The Craft Awards recognize the best in contemporary crafts and Steinhäuser was selected by the volunteer committee at Craft Ontario to win this award.

Steinhäuser is a renowned ceramic artist famous for her kachelöfen – wood-burning ceramic stoves – which are in private collections around the world. Not only does it serve a functional purpose, but a kachelöfen by Steinhäuser also serves as a stunning design piece. Her work has been featured in BBC Scotland, World Architecture News, The Globe & Mail, Ceramics Monthly, and more.

“I am so honoured to win this award. My journey has been quite a long one, with lots of failure and funny disasters – and some not so funny ones – and I cannot believe I am being recognized for all of that hard work. Thank you Craft Ontario,” said Steinhäuser, who trained and apprenticed in Germany at the State School for Art and Design, and earned her Graduate Journeyman Potter certification from the State School for Ceramics.

Steinhäuser said her dream of building kachelöfen started when she was 18 years old. “To now, finally 32 years later, be designing, making and installing these efficient wood stoves – and to be recognized for this super long journey – is just so cool,” she said. “If someone would have told me that I would travel the world installing these stoves, I would have just laughed, but this is what I do now. It is crazy.”

Steinhäuser jokes that although her journey to bring kachelöfen to Canada and North America has felt long, the process she uses to build them has existed in Germany and Austria since the 1400s. “So my journey of 32 years suddenly does not seem so long,” she said.

After her studies in Germany, Steinhäuser immigrated to Canada and established Stonehouse Pottery in Guelph, Ont., in 1989. She generously shares her skills and expertise at Fleming HSAD, where she is a faculty member for the Ceramics full-time and summer school programs.

“I enjoy sharing my expertise at the Haliburton School of Art + Design. I stopped making production pottery two years ago as the demand for my kachelöfen has risen so sharply. But as much as I am passionate about kachelöfen, I am a master potter on the wheel and I absolutely love teaching it,” said Steinhäuser. “This past Potters Market in Guelph I saw many of my students from over the years, who are now successful potters. I can see the tricks and skills I taught them reflected in their work, and that is so rewarding to see. I am so proud of them!”