"Working from Boo! Studio in Leeds alongside my trusty kiln, Chuffing Billy, I create a magical menagerie of colourful black and white characters, which include BabyDogs, TriBods, Eyeballs and my JoVille range of mugs and TeaBods, all inspired by a collection of experiences and ideas of family, nurture, control and love, as well as childhood memories of Fuzzy Felt and Mr Potato Head. Other inspirations come from everyday observations, my travels and from artists such as Tony Oursler, Ron Mueck, Juan Munoz, Neil Gaiman, Gordon Baldwin and Carol McNicoll.
My creative journey however, started out on a more serious and contemplative note, producing contemporary life-size busts adorned with black and white fading family photographs hinting at ideas of retention and loss of memories. In 2009 I was commissioned by East Street Arts and Leeds City Council to produce a piece of artwork for the International Day of Older People Conference. I produced ‘Wave’, an inter-generational art installation which consisted of a sea of 100 hands of people of Leeds, aged 3 months to 100 years old, sharing photographic memories. The work alluded to the cycle of life and the passing on and shaping of stories and familiar histories. ‘Wave’ was exhibited in Leeds at the City Museum, The Civic Hall, Leeds Art Library, Leeds University, Donisthorpe Care Home and The Bowery in Headingley.
As you will have gathered, there are two sides to me and my work - the sensitive and the silly but ultimately, my work is driven by the human experience. At the moment, the aim of my work is to amuse and delight, albeit in a slightly disturbing manner."
Jo Lee - Solo Ceramic Showcase
2nd May - 29th July
An exploration of ceramics by curious creative and Yorkshire artist Jo Lee. These original and quirky characters that make up Jo’s range stem from childhood memories of creating crazy creatures with Mr Potato Head, Fuzzy Felt and the wild and boundless imagination of a child. Now, as a ‘grown up’ Jo gets to play with photography, Photoshop and ceramic decals to bring to life a bunch of delightfully unusual individuals with whom you can share your home.
Techniques and Process:
"BabyDogs, TriBods, Eyeballs: Having conjured up my characters I create originals out of clay or use solid objects from which I make plaster moulds.
The BabyDogs are made up of 2 moulds, one for the body modelled from a solid clay form and one for the head, cast from one of the heads of my childhood dolls. The TriBods are made from three separate moulds enabling each part to wobble independently when placed together and tickled. You are never truly alone with a TriBod – they are always on the move!
The moulds allow me to slip-cast multiples, either with earthenware or porcelain slip, sometimes with the addition of very fine fibres to give strength and flexibility so that I can add on extra unique bits like the BabyDogs’ quiffs! The moulds are poured and emptied and the casts are left over night. On opening the moulds, additions can be made or various parts stuck together before they are left to dry ready for the bisque firing. Once bisque fired I use black underglaze to draw and paint on the BabyDogs distinctive markings and give the TriBods their unique outfits. They are then fired with a clear glaze before some of the menagerie are given a pair of photographic ceramic transfer eyes. I love photographing people – I crop out their eyes in Photoshop, turn them black and white, play with scale and contrast and make them into transfers. Causing me much hilarity, the transfer eyes are then placed on to my work, left over night to dry before the final transfer firing. I love combining my drawing and photography with my 3D work.
The mugs and TeaBods are designed by me and printed on fine bone china from Stoke-on-Trent, the heart of traditional English pottery. They are microwave & dishwasher safe."
Photographs of work by Jo Lee. Photographs of Jo Lee in her studio by Lisa Burch.
"Welcome to my world…"
Missed Jo's Meet the Maker event here earlier this May? Scroll down the page to view some pics of the afternoon.