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Q&A with Franca Christophersen

Franca Christophersen is a New Zealand-born ceramist whose studio practice explores the malleability of clay through traditional as well as abstract techniques. Franca founded her own ceramic studio in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen...

Franca Christophersen is a New Zealand-born ceramist whose studio practice explores the malleability of clay through traditional as well as abstract techniques. Franca founded her own ceramic studio in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen where her curiosity for the boundaries and expressions of clay has manifested through a range of client projects.

In celebration of the launch of Franca’s collection exclusively created for our Studio Zung Home Accents Collection, we asked Franca a series of questions to dive deep into her approach to ceramics.



photo by Fred Aartun


Without giving away your location, describe where you are right now. What are the things you see, smell, or hear around you?

I sit at a FRAMA round farmhouse table.. two windows are open to air out the room, as the spring afternoon sunlight peers in. There is a lingering warmth in the space and the smell of brewing coffee. The birds chirp away from a nearby apple tree.

It’s really as idyllic as it sounds.

Taste, touch, smell, sound, sight — which of the five senses do you rely on the most? Why?

Touch and sight are perhaps the most imperative with the way I work. Preparing the right consistency of earthen material before it comes in contact with any equipment or tool. I am continuously recycling any clay scraps for reuse. The act itself is quite primitive — my hands and the clay. When working on the potter's wheel, the focus is entirely absorbed by both touch and sight as you balance the two with varying centripetal forces. Forming an idea into physicality.




Tell us about your relationship to Studio Zung. To begin, how did our relationship start and how has it evolved over time? Could you describe one of your favorite moments with Tommy?

My first visit to Studio Zung was back in 2018! I was introduced to Tommy through my husband Niels Strøyer Christophersen - they are naturally very good friends. It’s hard to get a word in when you are around those two! Niels and I had flown in from Copenhagen the night prior especially to attend an event at Studio Zung. We were very fortunate, as on the day of the event NYC was struck by an unforeseen snow storm. The entire city was blanketed in sudden chaos. Over the years Tommy has visited Copenhagen on numerous occasions; our friendship has developed and upon his last visit in 2023 I had just moved into a new studio space. That’s where the conversation started around creating something special for Studio Zung... One of my favorite moments with Tommy is a recent one - last year we all met up in Biarritz and shared a cooked meal atop a cliff overlooking the ocean at dusk.




We want to know more about your creative process, walk us through it. How do you begin your projects? Do you anchor it with an image, a material, color, feeling? How do you come to a stopping point and know your work is complete, if you ever think so?

My collaborative projects tend to begin with a friendship one way or another - I enjoy working with those who share the same base values. It’s important to me that there is a foundational value of trust, as it makes the communication between both parties go that much smoother. With individual projects - often one idea or execution leads into another. It’s an ongoing flow of curiosity, attempts, failures and successes which lead me in the direction I’m going. I’ve learned it’s equally important to meticulously document all the process variables.. as following a creative instinct is only part of the equation.

How would you describe your work? How do other people describe your work?

Meticulous, curious, and considered. That’s how I would put my own work at present. I don’t mind how others see or feel about what I create. Yet if it calls out to a small niche strongly, well - that means a lot to me. I am aware I have a tendency to lean towards perfectionism, so I’ve been experimenting with questioning an identity around that term.

Think of an object in your home that has the most significance to you. Could you share with us what it is and the memory behind it?

I have a special Yunomi Teacup by ceramist Kansai Noguchi at home. Actually - there are two! Both were bought from the antique furniture store Casica in Tokyo. The first I purchased in 2019 on our way to New Zealand shortly after Niels and I were married. I always felt a bit of regret for not purchasing a pair, but then Niels surprised me with a second Yunomi by Kansai Noguchi a couple years later. We enjoy coffee or tea from both cups in the morning.

We live in a society where so much of our identity is surrounded by the things we consume whether that be the things we buy, the food we eat, or the content we see, along with the fast paced nature of it. How do you approach mindful living and sustainability in the context of your work and in your everyday life?

I believe that the basis of mindful living and the context of sustainability comes down to the willingness to learn, and being aware that your everyday choices matter in the moment. That will translate different to everyone of course. I’m trying to focus more on selecting only seasonal produce when I’m cooking, and on the other hand trying to be more consistent with the materials that I utilize in my studio practice. An awareness around considered decisions.

What do you envision for yourself in five years?

Working through my days as a committed Ceramicist, perhaps just a bit wiser.


photo by Fred Aartun


What do you want people to take away from your work?

A curiosity in the ceramic material. There are many variables that are simultaneously at play during the making process. In an age where there are vast amounts of production worldwide, I find pride in slowing down the craft process to examine the endless possibilities.




Are you looking forward to anything in the next few months? Any new exciting projects or plans?

As I write this - I’m quite heavily pregnant with my first child. I’m mostly looking forward to enjoying the Danish summer months at a slightly different pace.

One daily ritual you practice

Even if I’m in a rush out the door, or slept through my alarm - I’ll always still have time to make the bed. One task completed for the day.

Current obsession

In my spare time I like to work on an old Volvo I have from 1972. The body of the car is beautiful beyond the modern terms, but the mechanics are simple.

One thing you’ve learned in the past 6 months

This is a practical studio tip. For many years I used to throw many larger clay pieces on a plaster batt that attached to the wheel with a hand-made flat clay patty. Recently I discovered I could do the same thing, but with attaching the plaster batts to chamois. Much less of a hassle.

If you could invite anyone for a dinner party, past or present, who would they be?

My Great Grandmother Ria Bancroft - she was a sculptor who worked in both clay and bronze. She sadly passed away before I was born. I’m named after her dearest friend Franca. I have the sense Ria and I might have had quite a bit in common. Particularly in regards to our stubbornness.

A dream you have yet to fulfill

To take some time away for a fuller vacation. I tend to work most days, I love being in the studio but I can also get a little carried away working almost all the time.




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