Mandy Cheng's porcelain works are designed to look graceful and minimalist, they conjure a feeling of lightness and a sense of movement.
Her signature mesmerizing patterns mimic the vivid diversity of nature, but are not painted on. Using lamination method, the patterns are meticulously prepared by repeated cutting and layering of porcelain sheets.
Her hands-on approach ensures every pattern is unique and unrepeatable.
Being creative and technically minded, Mandy continues to develop the skills needed to overcome the combined challenges of the natural fragility of porcelain, the complex lamination method, and the difficulty of hand building thin walled larger works.
Her beautiful creations are both functional and decorative: timeless collectible objects to behold and use.
‘My practice as a ceramist centres on the making of a diverse range of contemporary objects – from the functional to the sculptural. I always start the with same process, the potter’s wheel being my predominant tool, but my work is never static or fixed and in some ways reflects the multifarious identities of contemporary ceramics. My ideas spring from a complex blending of the abstract to the familiar, evident in both the functional ware and sculpture that I make. My objects, in their colour, shape and materiality, reference the ideas of restraint, containment and minimalism.’
‘The development of my work into ceramics, colour and spatial perception began with a Masters degree at Cardiff in 2003. The work explores the ways in which spaces within landscape appear altered depending on the ever-changing colours of season, weather, time and farming. The bowls act as a canvas for paintings that distil specific landscape scenes, perceptibly altering the size, depth and shape of the form by the applied colour. The forms can be made to seem wider or narrower, deeper or shallower, heavier or lighter, or they may appear to undulate, bend, move or hover by the juxtaposition of finer lines. The viewing of both inner and outer surfaces together enables me to exploit colour connections and visual play from one side to another, emphasising or flattening the dimensionality of the form.’
‘My early creative training and work was in graphic design, it was a time when the industry was changing from drawing boards to computers. As my work became more computer based I realised I missed using my hands and making things, that realisation led me to ceramics and an MA in ceramic design at Bath Spa University. Since graduating I have exhibited nationally and internationally and now work from my studio in Bath.
The precision I learned when creating artwork as a graphic designer combined with the organic nature of clay is the basis of my work in ceramics today. I am inspired by opposing themes - organic and geometric, spontaneous and controlled. Intuitive, almost unconsidered movements allow and encourage organic forms to emerge. Precise and controlled movements create clean lines. Each piece is a making journey which encompasses elements of chance and explores the balance between line, form and colour.’
Italian ceramicist Paola Paronetto is inspired by the natural world making her one off pieces in paper clay aspiring to achieve a fine balance between experimentation and formal considerations.
The way her pieces are constructed and textured emphasizes their uniqueness with an autonomous personality emerging from each object.
Paola says about her work:
‘My work is a tribute to the beauty of imperfection. It is searched and desired and certainly not a result of any technical deficiencies.’
New work by Martin Pearce, Paul Wearing and Rachel Wood
‘The excitement of creating shape, line and volume is the driving force behind my work. Conjuring emotion and power simply by enclosing empty space is a startling thing to do. Inevitably, abstract forms attract interpretation; my pieces seem to provoke associations with landscape and bio-morphism. However, I discover a form through a process of continual experimentation, following the logic and language of the form. I enjoy the unpredictable nature of hand-built sculptural forms and the way that a form changes as you move around a piece, following the movement of space around and through a work.
From my studio in the depths of East Sussex, I build my pieces using coils and straps of stoneware clays, finished with layers of slips and modified glazes, to give a quiet sense of depth and ease to the surface.’
‘Textures that manifest naturally on surfaces within diverse urban and rural landscapes, are fundamental to my practice. I express my relationship to these through the glazed surface and ceramic sculptural vessel form. It is the correlation between the slower emerging life cycles of nature and the making process leading to alchemical developments within the kiln that underpins my work: a dialogue between the hand-made and manifestations of nature.’
Rachel Wood studied ceramics at Loughborough University. She uses a combination of throwing and hand building techniques, which create highly textured, tactile and energetic surfaces. The conical bowls are inspired by the natural landscape and her response to that. They are pinched and coiled, swathed with layers of slips and glaze, and then electric fired. Tool marks, finger marks, fissures and cracks are an integral part of each pot’s character. The Australian bush inspires the vertical forms, Bark vessels, after a recent residency there.
Anna Lambert makes hand built earthenware vessels. Each unique piece is constructed by coiling, pinching and manipulating the soft clay. Later, the leather hard clay is scraped back and worked on with coloured slips, drawn and relief printed images and modelling, before glazing with subtle under glaze colours. Anna’s work is a response to her natural surroundings – hence bird’s nest bowls and twig candlesticks. Each piece works as a sculptural object in its own right, whether put to domestic use or not.
‘The ceramic pieces that I love are the most fundamental of forms, and most of my recent work is based on just two. Vessels to drink from are surely among the most intimate objects that we use. They can add pleasure to routine daily moments or they can be part of a celebration. Bowls are elemental, forms for sharing, which at their best are open and generous. They can be tiny and fragile or rugged and monumental in scale. I use one clay, one colouring material, and a single firing, believing that focusing on a simple process can produce work of complexity and depth.’
Robin Welch is one of the most highly respected contemporary British potters.
He is in his 80's now still making some of his finest pieces.
His one off pots are thrown with either hand built or further thrown sections joined in. They are covered in white slip before being biscuit fired followed by being fired several times using variety of glazes, lustres and enamels.
The recent work is inspired by the outback landscape of Australia which he has visited several times.
This time of the year again! Time to buy wonderful Christmas presents from the big selection of work by our best potters.