Bright colours, traditional designs and creative ideas. The ceramic creations of Allgäu’s Sophie Mische radiate pure Alpine feeling. Her summer source of energy? Lake Alpsee
Pottery Artist Sophie Mische
Sophie Mische sits in her workshop in front of a potter’s wheel. On the table next to her are about 50 pieces of clay of the same size. She picks one up, puts it on the potter’s wheel and presses the pedal with her foot. As the disc rotates evenly, she uses her craftsmanship to shape the lump of clay into a bulbous shape.
At the tender age of 22, the artist is already running her own company. S’ Alpgfihl is the name of her workshop, with its attendant sales and display room. There she produces tableware including ceramic mugs, cereal bowls, teapots and even lamps – all in Allgäu chic.
“My mother advised me to do an apprenticeship at a pottery. After that I knew I didn’t want to do anything else”, states Sophie Mische. Positions for skilled artisans are few and far between. This is why she decided to set up her own workshop after completing her training. A bold move, but one that she does not regret. A happy coincidence helped her with this decision.
The municipality of Ofterschwang decided to use an old farmhouse to showcase traditional handicrafts. Sophie Mische impressed with her pottery art immediately. “That’s how I was able to open my own pottery workshop ‘s’ Alpgfihl’ in the Busche-Berta-Haus in Ofterschwang.”
“The cattle shed, for example, is a tradition that is reflected in my paintings”
Allgäu ceramics: bright colours and traditional designs
With her Allgäu ceramic pieces, Sophie Mische combines tradition and modern design. She turns her works on a potter’s wheel, as has been done for hundreds of years. The coatings in contrast have bright colours.
The handmade, individual paintings, such as cows, edelweiss or mountains, are typical Allgäu designs. “The cattle shed, for example, is a tradition that is reflected in my paintings”, explains the artist. She finds inspiration in nature – on a walk or a ride with her horses.
It takes several days and oven cycles until a cup or plate is ready. Sophie Mische works every single piece with her hands many times and pays attention to the smallest details. Her personal favourite is the ceramic lamp in the shape of a cowbell.
On the shade, she cuts out cow shapes, through which the light shines. They are suspended by a leather strap – like real cowbells. There have since been further variations of this lamp, on display in the artist’s showroom.
Travel back in time
The ‘s’ Alpgfihl‘ pottery workshop is located in a former tractor barn. The ceilings of the almost 300-year-old building are low and the wooden floors creak with every step. If you look up, you can see the wooden beams of the gable. Sophie Mische has put a lot of work into the lovingly detailed interior.
With her circle of acquaintances and through online bidding, she bought a small farmhouse museum. The old chests of drawers, prams and cradles transport guests back in time.
In one corner, there is even a traditional carriage. In between are the shelves and showcases displaying their pottery, which fit perfectly into the overall picture.
More about Sophie's craft at busche-berta.de (only in German)
... from Sophie
The Iller cycle path from Oberstdorf via Kempten to the mouth of the Danube near Ulm is 146 kilometres long. If you have accommodation in Ofterschwang, you can cycle part of the way to Oberstdorf in three quarters of an hour. The route runs along the river the entire time and offers great views. But the icing on the cake is the destination: the Christlessee. It is not particularly large, more like a large pond. It is surrounded by mountains and the view is beautiful. There is also a small café at the lake. The Kässpatzn are served there in my handmade bowls. There is also cake and coffee.
illerradweg.de (only in German)
Hike to the Rubihorn
The Rubihorn is my favourite mountain. It takes almost three hours to reach the summit. On the way you will see beautiful mountain flowers. At the top you have a great view of all of the Allgäu. Far below is the Gaisalpsee. The water is freezing cold, but the landscape is wonderful.
oberstdorf.de (only in German)
The Alpsee Coaster
A ride on the Alpsee Coaster, very close to the lake, is also fun for the whole family. If you walk up from the valley, you can reach the toboggan run in about an hour. The hike is easy to manage with children. If that's too long, take the cable car.
Busche-Berta-Haus, where my pottery workshop is located, is worth a visit. Other craftsmen’s workshops are also located there: a schnapps distillery, a sausage and cheese warehouse. There are also tours. I also recommend the mountain farm museum in Diepolz. There you can see the way people used to live here. There are animals outside in the stable: It’s also a great experience for kids.
"Landhotel Alphorn" and "Wurzelhütte"
The "Landhotel Alphorn" in Ofterschwang has great food. There you will find traditional dishes with a modern twist. From the centre of the village, around 15 minutes on foot, is the "Wurzelhütte". The cook prepares all dishes himself. The view up there is wonderful.
landhotel-alphorn.de | wurzelhuette-ofterschwang.de (only in German)