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 Anna Whitehouse - Ceramic Showcase

Sketching in Clay - 100 bottles in 100 days



 8th January - 20th April 2019

Photography by David Lindsey

On 1st January 2018, Ceramic Artist Anna Whitehouse began a project to make 1 bottle a day for 100 days.  Using a 2 part press mould she created a plain bottle every morning to be her blank canvas for the day.  This process allowed her to push new ideas quickly and be far more experimental in her approach.  The results of this period of experimenting and making are on show with The Craft Centre and Design Gallery in Leeds  from the 8th January until the 20th April 2019.

”The aim was to free up my making and explore ideas quickly.  Recording the process on Instagram and naming each after something that I did that day, helped remind me that these were not supposed to be finished pieces.  It allowed me to take risks, because there was always going to be another one tomorrow!”




























Throughout the 100 days Anna referenced her sketchbooks that were brimming with years of unexplored ideas, patterns and textures.  She tried pressing and scraping any tool she could get her hands on into the clay to create pattern.  From her standard clay tools to pen lids, tweezers, scissors and even a string of beads!  She also started making her own tools from bits of broken pen, wire and aluminium to create particular marks (pictured above).  Often looking through the bottles you can see the same marks but with a slight variation, Anna wanted to exhaust the multiple ways of using 1 tool and also start combining marks to create new textures.  Anna often refers to the 100bottles as “sketching in clay” and the work has been kept unglazed, like white pages from a sketchbook.  It was also chosen to highlight the mark making, through the contrast of the shadows against a white ceramic surface.  She used the 100 days as a personal experiment to develop observational and modelling skills whilst pushing unexplored ideas towards a new collection of work.  Interestingly they have become a piece in their own right; not only for their fascinating patterns and textures, but because they record a moment in time.  Each is numbered and also named after something that happened that day, somewhat like a clay diary.  Jasper, Anna's beautiful pet Cat, also took a keen interest in the project and so far has been on his best behaviour with all 100 bottles still remaining intact!


Based in Harrogate North Yorkshire, Anna’s work has evolved from growing up in the region and spending time outdoors.  From scrambling over rocks in the Dales to scouring the beach for fossils near Whitby, a love of landscape, natural forms and exploration can be seen echoed in her work.  A more recent desire to research and respond to the changes occurring in our ecosystem has lead to a shift in Anna’s creative practice.  Her new collection of bottle forms, adorned with natural structures and textures, is playful and evokes a sense of the fantasy, but also questions human impact on the earth’s ecosystem. Is the man made form being reclaimed by nature? Is the natural world being abused to satisfy the demand of population growth? Or does the merging of the man made forms with the natural structures celebrate a positive relationship and balance that we could one day achieve?  Ultimately Anna aims to create beautiful and intriguing objects that awaken a childlike sense of wonder and appreciation of the natural world.

Photography by David Lindsey

Photography by David Lindsey

Missed Anna's Meet the Maker event we had here On Saturday 26th January?  We took some videos and photographs for you to look at; enjoy!  Anna brought along her sketchbooks, spoke of the inspiration behind this amazing project and worked on a bottle demonstrating her techniques and processes she used in the creation of her work.                                             

Animator John Robinson created a special animation about Anna's inspiring project which you can view above and you view more of John's work on his website

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