Stand by Me
14th March - 20th June 2020
Stand by Me
14th March - 20th June 2020
Image - Diane Griffin
Investigating how work when work placed together creates a narrative. Collections of work are brought together by makers whose work sits harmoniously together through shape, size, texture or colour telling a story of contemporary craft practice in the UK today.
Claire’s working practice as a ceramic sculptor is changing and she has made a conscious decision to focus on a more sculptural approach, studying the form in relationship to the surface with more clarity. She uses her studio location, based in the grounds of a historical steam museum to inform her practice, absorbing the industrial heritage surrounding her, it has been a significant element when developing ideas. Claire is fascinated by constructivist assemblages and the pioneers of abstract art - Hans Arp, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Victor Pasmore and Kurt Schwitters have all made a great impression on her finding the varied and experimental approach to their work inspirational. Claire is a dedicated hand builder and revels in how ideas develop out of process, experiments with materials and techniques. She will often create a series of small sculptural forms that serve as working maquettes. Claire finds great enjoyment and creative impulse through making collections and arranging manmade and natural forms. The discipline of drawing, her continuous studies and a renewed passion for printmaking, are all essential components. Claire seeks to catch the eye but hold the form in her sculptural pieces and strives to achieve a balance and fluidity between intuition, craft and concept in clay.
Kate is an established British ceramic artist working in raku and stoneware. She studied Three Dimensional Design at the University of Brighton specialising in ceramics and visual research. After graduating in 1996, Kate was selected for an international ceramic residency in Japan, where she worked alongside established Japanese, Korean and American artists. On her return, Kate set up her business at Cockpit Arts, London, where she was based for nearly 10 years. Kate’s ceramics are renowned for their distinctive sculptural qualities, often comprising a series of repeated forms or collections. The passage of time and the ability of certain objects to connect us with our past are continual sources of inspiration for her work in clay. Her collections of jugs, tapered vessels and containers are conceived as small scale installations. Wood, stone and precious metal gilding are used in combination with the ceramic pieces to create a sense of balance and harmony. Applying glaze like layers of fabric to partly wrap the ceramics, Kate highlights the surface qualities of each piece, creating a subtle interplay between light and dark.
Linda designs and makes tableware based on her thrown porcelain, with dimples and visible throwing lines showing the hand of the maker. She uses a tactile satin matt glaze on the outside and colour on the inside. She makes her own range of glazes and is particularly interested in the translucent colours obtained using oxides rather than commercial stains. She has written several books on glazes and teaches a course on colour in glazes at Forest Row School of Ceramics.
Josie is a north Wales based ceramicist working in porcelain to create a range of painterly hand built, semi functional vessels. Drawing from landscapes, the work is influenced by texture and colours found along the northwest coastline. Glaze and tonal marks are applied to the surface of clay, creating subtle decorative qualities. Treating the porcelain as a canvas, underglaze is layered and removed using a sandblaster to build up a depth of surface with a minimal and considered aesthetic. Aiming to emphasise the fragile yet durable nature of porcelain, slabs are rolled out as thin as possible with the seams left visible to highlight the making process and handmade quality.
Katharina was born in Austria and brought up to work with clay. Her mother Anna-Maria is still making and running a Pottery in the village of Stainz. Her work as a ceramic artist focuses primarily on the exploration of shapes on the pottery wheel. This tool allows her to find endless variations on an old theme: the vessel. When working on the wheel Katharina plays with proportion and detail to craft a visually pleasing object. Starting with a lump of clay and transforming it into a finished piece using only her hands fills her with pride. While striving for perfection in the shape of the vessel, Katharina deliberately embraces imperfections in her surface pattern designs. She draws freehand onto the form using her trademark crayons. These hand-drawn lines make the work lively, rough, immediate and unique and preserve the moment of mark-making. She enjoys how the lines follow the curves of the pot, coming together or widening. Inspiration comes from little snippets of observation in her environment. Lines jump out at her in almost anything; stripes on cloth, wires and cables, plants and grasses, architecture and streets to name a few. The other integral part of her work is colour. The work is marked by strong opposites, not only between shape and pattern but also between the inside and the outside of Katharina’s pots. Using her own glazes based on recipes which she has developed and refined over the years, she creates high contrast pieces. Black versus white, monochrome versus colorful, and glossy versus matt are central throughout her work.
Diane was born in London and studied ceramics at West Surrey College of Art & Design in Farnham, graduating in 1988. After spending 10 years in Yorkshire, she now lives and works in Northamptonshire. She makes unique vases and sculptures and has exhibited widely across the country and abroad. Diane uses a combination of techniques to create her pieces; throwing, hand-building and slip casting methods are all employed. Diane also enjoys combining other media with her ceramics to add contrasts in colour and texture. When designing a new piece she begins with the form and often looks at sculptures for inspiration. Anish Kapoor, Jim Partridge, Andy Goldsworthy and Gordon Baldwin are just a few of that artists that she enjoys and who continue to inspire her own sculptural forms.
Jane graduated from the University of Derby on the Crafts BA course in 2011. She works from her home studio in Derbyshire and takes inspiration and materials from the local countryside. Jane is a lifelong collector and an artist with a passion for English woodlands. Walking daily amongst ancient trees near her home in Derbyshire, she gathers interesting and eye catching materials to carry home and transform into artworks. The thorns, fragments of bark, seeds, feathers and acorn cups are celebrated in Jane’s work, often because of their tiny imperfections and irregularities. It is the smaller, quiet details of nature that appeal, the single sycamore seed or quirky twig which might otherwise be over-looked. Jane’s pieces are hand-stitched, tied and intricately assembled using waxed thread or natural cordage.
Penny lives between the moors and the sea in Devon which is a beautiful part of the world. On a clear day she can just see the River Dart from her studio window. Some of Penny’s pieces are tiny, like jewels, other are larger and more sculptural, reminiscent of waves and pebbles, fire and water, but all made of the earth. Penny creates delicate, organic, hand-formed porcelain vessels, bowls, vases and sculptures. They are made from white and black porcelain and filled with real gold or platinum lustre to add light, reflection and celebration; no two are ever the same. The first time Penny held a piece of cold smooth porcelain clay in her hands she felt an affinity with this wonderful translucent material that she couldn't explain, and she still feels the same today. Penny loves working with porcelain and because she hand-builds she never quite knows what will appear which is incredibly exciting. Each piece is unique and she has watched people nestle a piece into their palm and instantly know it's the one for them. The contrast of the smooth luxurious lustre interior and the organic non-glazed exterior, leaving the porcelain to speak for itself, gives it a very tactile quality.
Jane is known internationally for developing the ancient and traditional processes of smoke firing and transforming them into a contemporary art form. She combines studio work with writing and her books are published in the UK, America, France and Germany. Her ceramic work draws on her research into the traditional pottery making and firing techniques of villages in India. The quintessential round bottomed (Indian) pot form balances on a tiny point where it sits, enabling it to rock from side to side without falling over as it comes back to its centre of gravity. Her ceramics, informed by this bowl shape are modern, abstract, unglazed and smoke-fired. These light, double-walled bowls become more modern still when paired with linear clay pieces – a reflection of the tension and balance in our urban landscape.
Having graduated with a 1st class honours degree in Three Dimensional Design from Manchester School of Art in 2011, Jill set up her own ceramics studio in Yorkshire. Fascinated by process and enhancing a technique associated with mass production, Jill explores multi-layered slip casting to create unique objects. These take the form of individual pieces and collections of curated works, which blur the boundaries between the usable and the purely decorative. With a minimal aesthetic, considered forms and refined colour palette, the work is highly tactile and the considered simplicity gradually draws attention to the subtle details. Jill enjoys the scientific elements and methods of working with colour; mixing colours to recipes. Testing, tweaking, repeating and documenting these experiments is a key starting point for her to develop work. Many of the colours she produces are mixed to replicate colours within photographs she has taken. These are often of abstract details from her travels. The forms of the vessels Jill creates are also another important element of her work. She is naturally drawn to designing objects that have a function, where she enjoys the relationship with user and object, however Jill also designs her work to be aesthetically pleasing as artworks alone.
The process of making is for Spencer as important as the finished work itself, using a lowly material such as clay and creating objects that could last a thousand years but could also be crushed in ones hand is something that continues to amaze him. His making is about the creation of simple open vessels that take their inspiration from contemporary and Oriental ceramics.