bookmark_borderStudents, staff & alumni showcase their creative ceramic practice at The Leach Pottery

A selection of our students, staff and alumni are exhibiting in ‘Plymouth in Practice’, two new exhibitions at The Leach Pottery, St Ives, showcasing the rich and creative ceramic practice exemplified by the college.

The Entrance Gallery at The Leach Pottery will showcase a selling exhibition of selected ceramics from 21 January to 19 March, created by seven current students and recent alumni, including Chloe BurkeEllen WoodsKate Lyons-MillerMiranda QualtroughRebecca RobertsJessica Thorn and Ruth Harrison.

From 21 January to 12 March, the Cube Gallery will host an exhibition of works by staff currently teaching ceramics on our BA (Hons) Ceramics & Glass and BA (Hons) 3D Design Crafts programmes. Invited artists include Chris TaylorDan ChappleKim BagleyJason Marks and Maria Psiliagkou.

Chloe Burke uses the technique of whittling in her ceramic vessels – originally used in wood carving, it is known for its sharp, textured cuts – creating a beautiful contrast with the soft edges of the clay.

Chloe Burke uses the technique of whittling in her ceramic vessels – originally used in wood carving, it is known for its sharp, textured cuts – creating a beautiful contrast with the soft edges of the clay.

Dr Matthew Tyas, Exhibitions Coordinator at The Leach Pottery, said: “This is the first time that we’ve worked with Plymouth College of Art, an institution that remains firmly committed to material practice – a unique oasis amongst a national environment where many colleges and universities have turned their backs on crafts skills and knowledge in ceramics.

“Seeing the different pieces of work side by side should give an idea of the breadth of different approaches from artists at the college.” — Chris Taylor, lecturer

“The Entrance Gallery exhibition will be a great opportunity to see and buy the work of recent alumni and current students – which not only supports them in their practice but also gives them the vital opportunity to exhibit their ceramics to the public.

“There’s a contemporary feel to the works, exemplifying a wide range of aesthetic styles and methods, so it will be interesting to see how visitors respond to them.

Ruth Harrison uses porcelain to create sculptural forms using repeated elements and symmetry.

Ruth Harrison uses porcelain to create sculptural forms using repeated elements and symmetry.

“Furthermore, there’s also the rare opportunity to see a parallel exhibition, in the Cube Gallery, of work by the staff that have taught and supported the alumni and students over the years.

“This doesn’t happen very often, so it will be fascinating to gain an insight into the thinking and practice behind the people who teach and inspire new generations of ceramicists.”

“This is the first time that we’ve worked with Plymouth College of Art, an institution that remains firmly committed to material practice…” — Dr Matthew Tyas, Exhibitions Coordinator at The Leach Pottery

Founded in 1920, The Leach Pottery is considered by many to be the birthplace of British studio pottery. One of the great figures of 20th-century art, Bernard Leach played a crucial pioneering role in creating an identity for artist potters across the world.

Chris Taylor, lecturer in Ceramics across BA (Hons) and Masters degrees, said: “I’m excited to be exhibiting at The Leach Pottery and this is a great opportunity for staff and students of the college alike.

“Seeing the different pieces of work side by side should give an idea of the breadth of different approaches from artists at the college.

Chris Taylor's unique pieces combine various layers with slip, underglaze printing and lustre, resulting in a striking, in-depth piece.

Chris Taylor’s unique pieces combine various layers with slip, underglaze printing and lustre, resulting in a striking, in-depth piece.

“Thinking of my own work, I consider myself to be a ceramic designer making individual pieces of art, in clay, that celebrate the qualities of the materials and the art of ceramics.

“I use a lot of printing and painting processes as surface decoration, using traditional processes in new ways and introducing some methods that aren’t traditionally associated with ceramics.

“I make items that you’d associate with everyday domestic environments, such as vases, then layer and disrupt the surface decoration, sometimes chipping off the glaze or using other erosive processes to reveal what came before.”

Jessica's beautiful pieces are inspired by the characteristics and forms of metal tins through vitrified porcelain.

​Jessica’s beautiful pieces are inspired by the characteristics and forms of metal tins through vitrified porcelain.

Designer-maker Jessica Thorn, who graduated in BA (Hons) Contemporary Crafts in 2013 and won Best New Business at the Contemporary Craft Festival, said: “I was so pleased to be asked to exhibit at The Leach Pottery and it’s really nice that I will be showing work alongside my former tutors, technicians and a fellow graduate from my year.

“I have really been supported by Plymouth College of Art since leaving college, and am still in touch with lots of members of staff, technicians and very good friends.

“I used this exhibition as an opportunity to make some new work, exploring still life painters such as William Scott and Giorgio Morandi. From this research, I designed and made a collection of still life three-dimensional bottles.

“I hand-build each individual piece with porcelain, showing my construction process in which the subtle line detail decorates each piece. This is a technique that I developed during my final year of studying at Plymouth College of Art, and which I continue to use today.

bookmark_borderPot-cast Interview with Emily Free Wilson

A few months ago I was interviewed by Paul Blais from The Potters Cast. He is doing cool things for the ceramics field. Follow him on Instagram @PDBLAIS. It was fun chatting with him as I reminisced about my journey into clay.

After the short commercial break around 41 minutes, I share a story about eating a meal off handmade pottery. It was the moment of the interview where I had my own little “ah-hah!” moment. I had thought about this before, but it was so fun to articulate it! Ceramics is here to enhance our interactions with others. To build our relationships with others. To make all those moments, little or big-a little more special.

I did not go into too much detail about the future, but I will keep everyone updated as it becomes the present and blends into the past. Enjoy the interview. I hope you pull something from it that inspires you.

bookmark_borderPainted Ceramic Houses

Painted Ceramic Houses

Turn thrift store decor into chic farmhouse holiday decorations with Americana Satin Enamels.

I found these ceramic houses at the thrift store for $2 each. They are actually salt and pepper shakers, which kind of makes me giggle because they are a little bulky for sprinkling seasonings on your food. 

Ceramic houses are something that I see often at thrift shops and flea markets. But often they are painted in dated colors. With Americana Decor Satin Enamels and a little DecoArt Glamour Dust, you can easily change these up into pretty holiday decor. 

Items needed:

  • Americana Decor Satin Enamels 8oz – Pure White
  • Glamour Dust 2oz – Glamour Dust Crystal
  • Paint Brush
  • Mini Ceramic Houses

Instructions:

First, you’ll want to clean them up and start by painting the entire structure with Americana Decor Satin Enamels in Pure White.

If your houses are glossy, it will likely take 3 solid coats of paint with extra drying time in between.

Before the last coat of paint is dry, sprinkle the glamour dust generously on the roof of the house. This is the most fun!

Allow the houses to dry completely before decorating with them.

Feel free to add a wreath or bottle brush tree as an accessory. You could also paint them in a matte color like Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint in Carbon Black or Relic. Or, you could finish these off with Americana Decor Varnish in Matte and skip the glitter. These variations would definitely add a farmhouse vibe to your ceramic finds that extends beyond the holiday season.

bookmark_borderPot-cast Interview with Emily Free Wilson

A few months ago I was interviewed by Paul Blais from The Potters Cast. He is doing cool things for the ceramics field. Follow him on Instagram @PDBLAIS. It was fun chatting with him as I reminisced about my journey into clay.

After the short commercial break around 41 minutes, I share a story about eating a meal off handmade pottery. It was the moment of the interview where I had my own little “ah-hah!” moment. I had thought about this before, but it was so fun to articulate it! Ceramics is here to enhance our interactions with others. To build our relationships with others. To make all those moments, little or big-a little more special.

I did not go into too much detail about the future, but I will keep everyone updated as it becomes the present and blends into the past. Enjoy the interview. I hope you pull something from it that inspires you.

bookmark_borderSession II: How Low Can You Go: Low Fire Love

In this guest post, 2019 Residency Session Co-Organizer Chanda Glendinning shares plans and ideas for the second session of the summer (June 16-28) focused on low-fire work. There is room for any artist interested in the session to join. Register now to reserve your spot or apply for a scholarship or work-exchange. Registrations are accepted on a rolling basis.  Applications for financial support are due February 15. 

Amanda Dobbratz

Well, hello, all of you bright, shiny, lovely people! Chanda here – I can’t tell you how happy I am to be returning to Watershed this summer, and joining forces with my co-host Amanda Dobbratz for Session 2: How Low Can You Go: Low Fire LoveI am so excited to have two whole weeks to immerse myself in the creative magic of Watershed and work and play and collaborate with the wonderful group of artists who are coming together for this session. I am foreseeing an explosion of color and red clay in the studios during our residency.

As I took another look at the images from our invited artists, and peeked into their studios via Instagram to see the freshest work still on their tables, the word “extravaganza” popped into my mind. From the goopy colorful glazes of Chris Drobnockand the narrative drawings of Lynne Hobaica, to the slip cast and decal-ed abundance of Shenny Cruces, the sgraffitto-ed jackrabbits and skulls of Jamie Adams and the subtle layered slips and glazes of Amy Evans to Margaret Haden’s multiple techniques that contrast decal & luster work with hand drawn informal lines, our invited artists are a varied and interesting bunch! I can’t wait to see old friends and make many new ones as we work side by side in the studio together.

Margaret Haden

We encourage all participants to bring some bisque ware. Not that we won’t have our hands deep in fresh clay as soon as we possibly can, but I know from experience how fast two weeks can fly by, and we want everyone to have the opportunity to explore and share and over-indulge in all of the unpredictable delight of salt and soda at low fire temperatures. I’ve had some really interesting results from my kilns at temperatures as low as cone 04 with a variety of surfaces – bare clay, underglaze, slips, glaze. If everything goes according to plan we’re hoping to squeeze three rounds of kilns in, so there will be a bit of room for trial & error, and something for everyone.

Amy Evans

I am anticipating those long lovely studio days – easy banter wafting through the air, collaborative work being passed from one person to the next, gathering around a table for a quick little demo. I see art, and life, and stories shared after dinner as informal slide talks, before heading back down the path for just a few more minutes of studio time. I foresee moonlit walks back to our beds, the crunch of gravel under our feet, and sunlit afternoon dips in Peter’s Pond once the kilns are loaded. I am impatiently counting the days until June, and looking forward to seeing what the synergy of this group will bring forth from our time at the ‘Shed. Let’s experiment together and see just how extravagant and “low” we can go!