A fire means a restart for ceramics company Studio Aarhus

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16 January 2023

One summer evening in 2021, the unthinkable happened: Studio Aarhus’ workshop burned down. From being a booming business with good distributors and 500 cups ready to go, the small team had to root around in the ashes to find surviving materials and restart the business from scratch.
“The fire came, as most fires do, like a bolt out of the blue. I had the wind in my sails, experiencing an incredible and overwhelming interest in my products. I was battling to keep producing as fast as possible, so that I could make deliveries to all my distributors,” explains Solveig Stilling, who founded Studio Aarhus, continuing:
“It was as if I’d been hit by lightning, and I felt totally shattered. My company, the apple of my eye and, not least, my place of refuge, had burned down before my eyes – and I had no insurance.”
When you’ve experienced the rug being pulled from beneath your feet, it can provoke many different reactions. Solveig Stilling responded with a burning passion. She discovered that Studio Aarhus was more than just materials in stock or goods waiting to be sent out to the distributors. Studio Aarhus was and is Solveig Stilling.


Studio Aarhus received enormous support after the fire. It wasn’t just family and friends who helped clear up and get everything back in place when the new premises were ready. There was also tremendous backing and support on social media, from customers and from distributors.
“One of the toughest things I had to deal with after the fire was a feeling of inadequacy. Inadequacy in terms of not being able to deliver to and build on the relationships I had with my distributors. That’s one of the things I look forward to working on a lot in 2023,” says Solveig Stilling.
While the rebuilding and restart of the company was under way, the world has been hit by several crises. Coronavirus and lockdown have attracted much attention, as has the war in Ukraine in particular. Which has made Solveig Stilling look inwards and appreciate what is close to her:
“At a time when the world has been hit by war and crises, I seek out the natural life, those close, local values. I appreciate that our production is local, so the focus is on craftsmanship. It’s not just the world around us that’s at war. For me, it’s also my own personal little war to find a foothold in the wake of a fire that felt so unfair, but also an inner fire that needs air to burn intensively,” says Solveig Stilling.

A business should be a life’s work

When Studio Aarhus was up and running, it quickly became Solveig Stilling’s life’s work. Her general attitude is that when you have a business, it should be your life’s work. ‘You have to live and breathe it’, as she puts it. The fire and the rebuilding of the company have not made Solveig Stilling lose faith in a bright future for Studio Aarhus.
“After all, this is craftsmanship we’re working with, it takes time to train people. That’s everything from working with the clay to glazes because the team and I want to be proud of every single product that leaves our workshop. As we produce everything ourselves, there are also some completely natural limitations, but we’ve optimised and strengthened our team so that we’re strong – ready to deliver to all our distributors,” says Solveig Stilling.