Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Ceramic Sculpture

Ceramic Art London is due to open its doors next week - February 24th - 26th.  It is the leading fair for contemporary ceramics, held at the Royal College of Art, London.

I love to browse the galleries and individual artists and see all the new and exciting work.  Some defies belief, in not looking like clay at all and others are gorgeous, earthy, functional pots.

Fenella Elms is amazing

Nuala O'Donovan's handbuilt porcelain ceramic sculpture astonishes

And an artist whose work appeals is Susan O'Byrne.  Her statement explains rather beautifully.

Our childhoods are filled with animal images, their many names, shapes, colours and patterns fuel our early imaginations. Throughout history animals have also been used in storytelling, legend and folklore to simplify the complexities of adult life. In the same manner, I use the animal form as a vehicle for the expression of human emotions. 

I aim to give my animals a certain awkward vulnerability. This is achieved through a very personal making process. I make a wire framework on to which layers of printed and patterned pieces of porcelain paper clay are applied to form a skin. The natural twists and kinks of the wire frame and the shrinkage of the clay around it during firing are allowed to dictate the posture of the finished animal. The element of chance in these processes is central to my work. 

It seems that I'm drawn to the effects achieved with porcelain, but the gritty, rustic glazes also make my heart beat a bit faster.

I was just thinking about what it would be if I found the two combined - a very fine, smooth, paper like clay all mixed up with a course stoneware material.  Then as if by magic I came across Stephanie Quayle  who works with heavily grogged sculptors clays allowing expressive lines and movements, as immediate as drawing, whilst porcelain is pushed to it’s absolute limits. Direct and energetic the earthy clay becomes alive with animal character.  What a Badger!


  1. Some amazing works here- thanks so much for posting. Really interesting to read Susan's work & process, too.

  2. It is inciteful when artists write well about their work, particularly as I was wondering how on earth she created the fragility and lightness.

  3. another wonderful post...I look forward to getting to know this artist.

  4. oh there is some lovely stuff there. I love the texture in that last piece - wouldn't that look great against the smoothness of your pieces?

    1. It's so free with so much movement, and yes those contrasts are always appealing, like hessian and silk, bark and velum, wool and ....?


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