Ceramics at market: ones to watch

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In a special blog ahead of this season’s Independent Ceramics Markets in London, Katherine Caddy meets six emerging makers connected to the events, to discover what’s behind their work

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William Edmonds ceramics

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William Edmonds

‘I’m interested in exploring the worlds between function and flippancy through my one-off pieces and collections’

I’m very impulsive and I lose patience quickly
When I stop to consider something, I worry that I’m working through reference rather than impulse, so I try to keep things quick and loose. I predominantly throw for this reason and try to make glazing as intuitive as possible. I try not to be too precious over my work; then it seems to have a little more life to it.

I trained at a night class when I first moved to London
I did this for about two or three years and then set up a studio of my own, with a wheel and a kiln. My lack of formal training means I approach it in a bit of a purposefully naive way; I’m always learning through mistakes.

I studied art and design
I work as an illustrator and artist and also teach illustration. I began working with clay when I was drawing ceramics; including them in my work meant that it made sense to try the medium itself. I started out illustrating more directly onto my pots, but now they are becoming more abstract, like my personal work.

Peter Shire is certainly someone I look up to
I was lucky to meet him in his studio in LA a few years ago and he made a big impression on me. He is, like me, someone who does many things: designs furniture, draws, paints and makes sculpture, alongside making ceramics. His pots have such a strong sense of play and joy to them, in a very considered way.

Discover more about William’s work at williamedmonds.co.uk, and follow him on Instagram here

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Kana London ceramics

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Ana Kerin | Kana London

My approach is experimental and playful, as I never follow a procedure, and invent new recipes daily’

My ceramic practice is a result of my training in sculpture and fine art
I studied Sculpture at the Academy for Fine Art and Design in Ljubljana and the NCAD in Dublin.

Today I work with a unique combination of clays and I mix my own glazes
I often turn my back on traditional ceramic techniques. Hand building, rather than turning on the wheel, further emphasizes the individuality of each of my pieces. 

An affinity for working with clay drew me to explore functional ceramics
My ceramic work started as a side project while I was studying and working as a sculptor. I have long held great admiration and fascination in finding ways of using sculptures in every day life, as functional objects.

I also hugely love food and cooking
Several of my friends are chefs or are in the food industry, so I wanted to find my way in there.

See more of Kana London’s pieces at kanalondon.com and find Ana on Instagram here

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Harriet Levy-Cooper ceramics

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Harriet Levy-Cooper

‘My work leans towards simple shapes with a graphic aesthetic; I like to create contrasts with colour, using texture and pattern to decorate my vessels’

I’m quite an impatient person, so working with ceramics is challenging
I stagger my process so that there are always products at different stages of the making process, working on different things as they become ready.

I prefer precision in my designs
Glaze is the least controllable element, so I tend to paint with slips and use minimal glazing techniques. Although I like working to a plan, some of my favourite pieces have been quite impulsive and experimental, and have become products that I now make regularly.

I studied Ceramic Design at Central Saint Martins
Then, I joined Turning Earth – a shared ceramics studio – in 2014, and have since become part of the mentoring team, assisting newcomers. I recently joined Clay Collective, a group of 12 potters, and now produce most of my creative work from Hackney Downs Studios.

I was always drawn to working in 3D
Nothing feels more natural to me than making things with my hands. There is something very satisfying about ceramics; I think it’s the transition that happens in the kiln. You can do everything in your power to create a specific finish, but until the door of the kiln opens, you’re never sure what you’ll get. I think this is what most potters get addicted to: the ‘kiln fix’.

Find more of Harriet’s work at lazyglaze.co.uk and follow her on Instagram here

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Elliott Denny ceramics

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Elliott Denny

‘I make elegant and minimalistic design-led pottery. I enjoy all the little journeys on the way to making a finished pot

Much of my work begins by throwing shapes at the wheel
Here, I try to be impulsive and unhindered by the formalities of design – enjoying the flow of the material. I later reflect on the results of these sessions, and begin to develop and refine them into more considered pieces.

I experiment a great deal with different colours and clay bodies…
And I make many meticulous tests – wonderful objects in themselves – which I later use to create a complimentary collection. Achieving consistently precise angles is often a good excuse to craft some custom throwing ribs.

I studied Graphic Design at Brighton
After graduating, I moved to south London to set up a small print and publishing studio. I began working with ceramics as a hobby after I started going to evening classes held weekly in the basement of a lovely retired ceramist. I very quickly became addicted to working with clay, and over two years it began to occupy more and more of my focus as a designer.

Clay is a very immediate material, allowing you to create something in moments
It responds to the slightest gesture and greatly reduces the pause between cause and effect. Pottery is a process that’s simple enough to start but also contains this infinite wealth of possibilities, with so much scope for learning and experimentation at each stage of the process.

Explore Elliott’s Instagram feed here, and discover more at elliottceramics.com

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Lucy Kirk ceramics

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Lucy Kirk

‘My work ranges from tattooed men in pants to mermaid babes and odd looking dogs’

I started out using ceramics as a medium to extend my illustration work
It was almost an accident, but I completely fell in love. I’m often told my ceramics are like a 3D version of my drawings. I find working in 3D more natural than 2D and love the aesthetic I can achieve with clay. I like to work in a monochrome palette and enjoy making figurative pieces and illustrated objects rather than functioning wares.

I’ve been told my work is dry and witty
I try to create a story around each piece, so that each character has a personality or is part of a wider narrative. I’ve found that I make work which people either love or hate. A child walked past my stand once at a market and said ‘this is the worst art I’ve ever seen.’ I guess it’s good to get a strong reaction – no one wants to be forgettable!

I recently relocated from Nottingham to east London
I’ve moved into a new studio and am working on some new themes and collections that I’m excited about. I don’t want to give too much away, but: think gangs and glamour with an edge of danger.

I studied illustration at the University of Brighton
Whilst in my third year I did a six-week short course in ceramics. Once graduated, I bought my own kiln and I’ve been experimenting ever since. I’ve been looking into more courses and I’m definitely interested in extending my knowledge. I’d love to take part in the Adopt a Potter apprenticeship one day.

Explore more of Lucy’s work at lucy-kirk.co.uk and tap into her Instagram feed here

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Leigh Pottery

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Leighan Thomas

‘I work with a restricted neutral palette that allows the texture and form of a piece to shine through’

My background is in advertising and interior design
Working in these industries, I found I longed to make something myself rather than design things for other people, so decided to take up pottery as a hobby. I liked the idea of getting my hands dirty and also the satisfaction of making something that was functional and beautiful at the same time.

I started pottery in 2012, at the studio of Suzanne Phillips in Buckinghamshire
There I attended informal weekly evening classes, until, in 2015, I bought a wheel and moved into the shed at the bottom of my garden. I’m still attending classes as I feel I still have much to learn and engage with.

I am influenced by the raw beauty and texture of the clay,
fascinated by natural elements such as slate, driftwood and rusty iron; by the Japanese potters and their intrinsic values of precision, aesthetics, utility and modesty; and by the work of potters such as Lucie Rie, Gertrud Vasegaard and Edmund de Waal.

I strive to produce work that is:
Contemporary, simple, elegant, tactile and functional; easy to live with and a pleasure to use.

See more of Leighan’s work at leighpottery.co.uk and find her Instagram here

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Catch the latest instalment of the Independent Ceramics Market in Peckham this Sunday, featuring work by Kana London and Lucy Kirk, and look out for the Christmas market on 4 Dec, where you’ll find a rich range of work by makers including Leighan Thomas. See facebook.com/events/465614376965209 and facebook.com/events/1088150317918402 for further details

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Are you an emerging maker with work to share with us?
Head over to Instagram and tag your ceramics with #CREmerging. We’re watching.

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