'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.' In this video, ceramic artist Tessa Eastman discusses her work, inspirations, and the processes behind her Baby Cloud Bundle sculptures. Learn how Tessa makes her work in the full step-by-step masterclass inside Ceramic Review issue 297 (May/June 2019).
I graduated from the University of Westminster in 2006 with a BA Honours in Ceramics, and in 2015 gained an MA in Ceramics & Glass from the Royal College of Art. I set up my first studio in 2005 in the Old Gas Works in West London, then when I achieved my MA I joined Manifold, an East London collective founded in 2010 by a group of emerging artists and designers from The Royal College of Art. In 2017, I was lucky enough to be granted space at Cockpit Arts, the UK’s only business incubator for craftspeople. I share a studio with three other ceramists, which is a wonderful creative environment to be a part of.
While creating I also look for differences such as soft and hard, order and chaos, geometry and irregularity
I build my forms by hand, drawing inspiration from organic shapes as seen through a microscope. I like to explore the strangeness of growth of natural phenomena in which systems flow and digress from an intended pattern, subsequently translating my findings into colourful glazed ceramics. I aim for my forms to be beautiful in a bizarre manner so as to aid the appreciation of life’s absurdities, where things don’t always make sense.
I am committed to the challenge of hand-building in clay, using various techniques to create complex sculptures. The often overlooked detail of bone, cloud, crystal and microscopic structures are observed as a starting point to develop pieces that possess a curious ambiguity. I aim to fix ungraspable states such as fleeting cloud formations. I love the fact that clouds have a duality to them – they can be both negative and dark, but also fluffy, soft and porous. They are never permanent, but always changing. I try and capture this metamorphosing shape in my work. The strange otherworldliness of natural phenomena transports me away from the mundane and I become excited when fixed ceramic forms seem alive.
I like to explore the strangeness of growth of natural phenomena in which systems flow and digress from an intended pattern, subsequently translating my findings into colourful glazed ceramics.
I like to group my work to highlight contrasts and create a dialogue between pieces, whereby negative space is valued as much as positive space. While creating I also look for differences such as soft and hard, order and chaos, geometry and irregularity. I am a modeller at heart and it is through sensitivity to form and glaze that my pieces become animated. Much time is therefore invested in glaze research and testing. Colour is inspiring to me and it can help create distinction between form and shape. Matte and shiny, coarse and smooth, and hot and cool-coloured glazes are used to create depth of character in my work.
What I love about ceramics is that you can make something solid, permanent and tangible from something that is intangible and always changing in nature. To try and fix it, to make it permanent, feels very grounding.
'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.