A celebration of contemporary craft by established makers and makers fresh on the craft scene from across the UK. Exciting decorative and functional glass, ceramics, wood and works in mixed media showcasing a variety of skills and techniques in the world of craft today for you to collect or admire.
Julia creates unique hand blown lead crystal bowls, decorated with original designs drawn from nature. Her love of glass came about when Julia broke her knee cap during the foundation year of her degree, diverting her from a glittering career in ceramics (due to all the potters’ wheels being kick powered not electric) and into glass by the timely and fortuitous discovery of a book on kiln forming glass. After destroying all the kilns at her foundation college by melting glass into the heating coils, Julia was accepted onto the Glass and Ceramics degree course at Sunderland Polytechnic.
Adrian trained as a furniture maker and designer in his twenties but didn’t focus on turning until more recently. Adrian finds the process very liberating after the disciplines of making furniture and joinery and likes to work intuitively without too many rules, using wood from the local landscape. Adrian works in green or wet wood and allows it to dry in controlled conditions so natural distortions take place, sometimes over several months. He often chooses material that will give interesting and unpredictable results, for instance wood from the fork of a tree, or a junction between trunk and branch. Working intimately with each piece of wood on the lathe, Adrian endeavours to create satisfying forms that establish a point from which the material can express itself through the drying process. When it is dry the finished work holds a story; revealing characteristics of the species, the age of the tree, which part it came from and where and how it grew. Adrian recently moved to Falmouth from southern Spain where he worked for several years in oak, olive and almond. The climate there was dry and the trees were small and slow growing. The conditions in Cornwall are very different and he is enjoying exploring the new opportunities this presents.
Chris is a folk artist from Cheshire and draws his influence from both his own observations of birds and early decoys of North America. He has a strong belief in the simplicity of line, form and colour which direct the final and original designs for which he is best known for both at home and abroad. Multi-award winning artist Chris Hindley has won, and continues to win, prestigious awards for his wooden art. These include the National Exhibition of Wildlife Art Birds Illustrated Award and three awards of excellence, highly commended in 2 of the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year Awards, twice winner of best in show, best in open and interpretative carving at the British Decoy and Wildfowl Carving Association. Four time winner of working decoy and three awards of excellence at the National Wildlife Carving Exhibition to mention just a few.
Ashraf is an Egyptian born British artist, currently resident and working from his studio in Wales. Growing up in Egypt he was surrounded by pottery forms that have changed little since the ancient times, classical forms that have filtered through the ages, touched and formed by the hand of the potter. It was not however until he went to El Minia College of Fine Arts that he started to really look at them. Close observation during drawing classes of still life compositions opened his eyes to the beauty and contentment that exist within a well-considered and executed form. The mark making created in drawing is now a direct interaction between the hand and a lump of clay, fingers are no longer just used to hold the pencil but to exact an immediate gesture manipulating the solid mass of clay thus creating a more poetic and meditative approach to making. Hand-building his forms, he makes both individual and related groups of vessels, each object informing the next. The profiles, lines and spaces emerging from this process of development, their ultimate placement in relation to one another, the juxtaposition of sharp lines and softer curves, have become a major interest. The forms are further enhanced by the introduction of a carefully considered, restrained palette of refined slips and stained clays. The pared-down nature of these new forms and the subtle surface treatments combine to produce vessels that are concerned with essence of form.
Ian was born and raised in Lincoln and attended Lincoln College of Art. He then went on to Manchester Polytechnic and has been a self-employed potter since 1988. All his pots are hand thrown and constructed pieces, fired in an electric kiln. His work has always centred around the teapot; it is a form which has intrigued him since college. Ian was a founding member of Harding House Gallery, begun in 1990, which is an art & craft cooperative in Lincoln and remained a member until 2004 when he moved to Wales.
Tom creates quasi-writing on curved, porcelain surfaces. He is fascinated by writing; the physical making of a visual language. Years ago he was watching someone wielding a large brush dipped in water on a dusty blackboard. The huge, glossy, black, swelling strokes mesmerised him and he asked how he could learn to use this amazing tool. There was a single, rare book explaining how this brush, which had a square-cut edge, was historically used so he camped out in a library for two weeks and learned all about an ancient Roman signwriting technique which was apparently used to write the monumental letters we see on classical Roman buildings with just a few strokes per letter. Tom’s ceramic forms are decorated with abstract forms with this brush he now understands so well.
Silvia K Ceramics (Silvia Kamodyova)
Located in the heart of Brighton Silvia established her studio shortly after graduating in 2012. Reflecting her commitment to authenticity, every aspect of production takes place in-house. Silvia’s drawings inform the models from which she makes her moulds; she also mixes casting slip, makes glazes and cuts leather straps; nothing is outsourced. Her collections are a contemporary interpretation of simple historical objects with a strong focus on function and colour. While the origins of her early work can be traced to her Slovakian heritage, ongoing research takes her enquiring eye to peasant ceramic ware from sources as diverse as Spanish pharmacy jars and French Confit pots. With a passion and respect for crafts, Silvia sees these objects as a vital element of our cultural and social history and is uncompromising in her research and development. Each range presents a complementary combination of fresh bright colours alongside quieter tones. Pattern is minimal, using simple strokes, lines or bases of colour. Past collections have been inspired by travels such as to Morocco and Portugal, while the current palette emerged from studies of the Bloomsbury residence, Charleston House.
Amanda’s journey with pottery began in 2003 when she took an evening class in throwing. She did not get very far with throwing on the wheel as she was pregnant at the time with her third son and so every week the wheel got a little further away from her so she moved on to hand building. Amanda worked for a while at Rachel Dormor Studio in Cambridge learning all things clay and has been working full time as a potter in her own studio for three years. Amanda’s ceramics are born out of a love of storytelling and narrative. A lifelong Essex girl, Amanda takes her influence and inspiration from her surroundings, the houses and colours of Thaxted and Saffron Walden were the starting point for her ceramic houses. Amanda has a degree in Illustration and a love of screen printing which she translates onto her ceramics.
Marion not only creates her beautifully decorative ceramic animals and functional ceramics but loves working to public commissions. Her work is colourful and uplifting and as a qualified landscape designer she knows how to integrate her work into outdoor settings. Her animal sculptures are a humorous and fun take on domestic pets, often taking on human qualities. Her sculptures are meant to be sculptural companions, to add a lively element to the room in which they are placed, and to put a smile on our faces when we see them. They can be a pet where we cannot have pets – and they do not need feeding!
Loretta originally trained in Mumbai where she studied for a BA in English and Graphic design. She then went on to study ceramics and sculpture and started working professionally when she was awarded a Crafts Council setting-up grant. Loretta’s pots are made in her studio in York using the simplest of tools. They combine skills and knowledge learnt during a career in a variety of media. The pots represent a way of working that ignores divisions between potter, painter and sculptor. Her work is absorbing and fascinating and appreciated by buyers concentrating on few but immaculately constructed pieces. Loretta’s Shimmer collection is loosely based on traditional Indian clay and metal vessel forms, ‘Hundis’, ‘Lotas’ and ‘Chattis’ which are pouring, storing and cooking vessels. These shapes have always lurked in Loretta’s imagination and have been an inspirational source of form and texture. This series is apparent alchemy; clay burnished to metal. The process of mark-making imitates the quick, rhythmic strokes of the metal worker. Some surfaces have the hard glint of polished metal while others are softened by time-worn dents & scratches. Forms hint at traditional shapes but are precise with taut edges and clean lines. Loretta envisages these metallic shimmers evolving into rusted and bronzed patinas in different colourations as the series develops.
Julia relocated to the Scottish Highlands in 2010. She had worked with clay for 10 years prior through ceramics education after graduating from the Glasgow School of Art. She works with dark earthenware clays which she fires high to make them durable and then cleans the studio every few weeks to work with pristine white porcelain. Julia appreciates the different qualities and challenges each clay brings and continually experiments with glazes and surface designs. Her drawings which decorate her ceramics are made on paper using coloured pencils, water colour paints or inks then are digitally printed or screen printed and applied as decals on to the glazed surface. The natural environment where Julia lives, by the Moray Firth, strongly influences what she makes and her glaze colours are reminiscent of seascapes with light reflected on the water or mist rolling in. Drawings of mountains, forests, animals and trees feature often in her drawings.
Janine creates carved and coloured leather panels for interiors alongside brooches (seen in our In the Spotlight exhibition during this exhibition too) and small objects. Growing up in Staffordshire she was surrounded from birth by the smell of oil paint and a knowledge that creativity was a very important part of life. Her Sri Lankan mother Ione had studied ceramics at North Staffordshire Polytechnic as a mature student and met her father Enos there. He was one of the part-time Fine Art and Ceramics lecturers. Whilst her mother never made any ceramics after she was born the beauty and grace of the pieces that she had made were always on display in their home. Her father, principally a fine art painter, became a full-time lecturer after she was born and on the ground floor of her childhood home he established his extensive studio. Following a BA at Sheffield Polytechnic in History of Art, Design and Film and an MA at Leicester University in Museum Studies in the early 1990s, Janine took up a career as a museum curator and later as an administrator. She did evening classes in Ceramics and Printmaking but neither of these gripped her particularly, though all the time she was making cards and embroideries and knitting and crocheting. Janine is now well known for her enamelling collection of wall art and jewellery and her new leather collection will be on show for the first time in Leeds this Winter.
After growing up in a small fishing village on the North East coast of Scotland, Rachel continues to be inspired by the textures and colours of the sea. Since moving to Yorkshire, her local surroundings including the Yorkshire mills and industrial buildings alongside her travels all contribute to her practice. Rachel creates collections that are playful, enjoyable and handcrafted using sustainable wood, paper and ink. Each collection uses printmaking processes with balanced colour combinations and bold shapes to create simple objects to wear or inspire at home. Rachel trained in Visual Communication at both The Royal College of Art and at Edinburgh College of Art. Scottish Arts Council funding enabled her to further her printmaking skills and using her expertise and knowledge of drawing and printmaking Rachel runs workshops for families, schools and adults including currently working as a creative Practitioner at The Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield. She has taught at West Dean College, The Arthouse Wakefield, Art in Action, Reachout RCA and The National Coal Mining Museum.
Sarah's work is inspired by nature and the birds, beasts, botany and beings which inhabit our world. She is driven to create art which celebrates life and conveys a sense of wonder at nature's mysteries. Working mainly in white earthenware she slab builds her pieces, decorating them with underglazes and oxides followed by a clear glaze. Sarah has recently started using transfers on her work which are created from her original drawings and paintings. The Angels also have gold acrylic applied.
Rhian Wyn Stone
Rhian’s work is influenced by the notion of becoming distinct within a world of uniformity. She has a degree in Contemporary Crafts from Manchester. Through soft iron wire, Rhian explores the contrast between a social and individual ideal, where imperfections are not seen as flaws, rather as characteristics; these unplanned details become the ideal, more perfect than the initial design to start. It is the element of chance and found beauty that inspire her wire pieces. She wishes to re-engage the viewer with a familiar in order to create a new aesthetic, to immerse them in the work itself, creating an immediate and lasting reaction.