Ceramic Review is the magazine for contemporary and historical ceramics, ceramic art and pottery.
In this video, ceramist Angela Mellor takes us step-by-step through the processes she uses to create her handbuilt bone china paperclay vessels. Learn how Angela makes her work in the full masterclass inside Ceramic Review issue 298 (July/August 2019).
My love of ceramics began while I was teaching art and pottery to A-level standard in the early 1970s – I taught for over 27 years. I gained a Teaching Diploma with Distinction in Art and Design at Manchester University, then in 1984 I undertook an Advanced Certification in Art Education, specialising in Ceramics at the University of East Anglia under the direction of the ceramist, author and teacher Peter Lane.
Sasha Wardell introduced me to bone china in 1991 – I fell in love with this seductive medium and have worked with it ever since.
In 1995, I gave up teaching and went to live in Perth, Western Australia, to get married. I continued my studies, and in 1997 gained a first-class Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours at the University of Tasmania in Hobart. Inspired by the Australian ceramic artist Les Blakebrough’s porcelain work, I also advanced my mould-making techniques with a mouldmaker from the Arabia porcelain factory in Finland.
I was awarded a Graduate Scholarship for my MA Research at Monash University in Melbourne, which provided me with the opportunity to develop my work in bone china. I have pioneered the use of bone china paperclay, gaining Honorable Mentions in international competitions in both Japan and Korea.
The bright sunlight in Western Australia and its effect on the landscape had a great impact on me and influenced
the development of my work. On returning to Perth, I set up my own studio and with the help of an Australian Crafts Council Grant collaborated with a lighting designer for a year to research the translucency of bone china, which has become the driving force in my work.
It had always been a dream of mine to run my own gallery, so after ten years of living in Australia and the loss of my husband, I returned to England and bought a gallery and studio in Ely, Cambridgeshire, which has allowed me to focus on developing a new series of work called Coastal Light.
My work explores the translucency of bone china paperclay and its potential for the transmission of light. I am particularly interested in the effects of light on the landscape, especially in coastal areas where a variety of organic contours, tonal contrasts and patterns provide a continuing source of inspiration.
I am part of the advisory team for Particle & Wave: Paperclay Illuminated, an international paperclay exhibition touring the USA. The hope is that this will greatly increase the understanding and appreciation of paperclay and encourage more ceramists to explore this exciting medium.
For details visit angelamellor.com Particle & Wave: Paperclay Illuminated, paperclayilluminated.com
Images and video by Layton Thompson.
Learn how Angela makes her work inside Ceramic Review Issue 298 (July/August) which features her full step-by-step masterclass.
'I aim to exploit bone china's inherent qualities of whiteness and translucency within my own practice.' Sasha Wardell discusses the mould-making process behind her slip-cast bone china bowls.
'Essentially I see my pots as containers of distilled thoughts, moments arrested in time expressing the narratives of their own making.' In our latest video, potter Duncan Ayscough discusses the processes he uses to throw and combine the elements of a long-necked pot.
'What I love about ceramics is that you can make something so solid, permanent and tangible from something that is so intangible and is always changing in nature. To try and fix it, make it permanent, feels very grounding.'