Tanya Gomez takes us through the processes she uses to throw, join and glaze one of her signature undulating pieces
When I was 17 years old, I was determined to leave the UK and fell upon work that allowed me to travel the world. I became a chef on private yachts (untrained, mind you), sailing the Atlantic Ocean for over five years. When I wasn’t at sea, I would travel through the colourful lands of South America, Mexico, Asia and Africa. I knew then, as I do now, that life is rich, full of adventure and experiences. Having grown up on the South Coast of England and, later, sailing the sea, I realised the endless horizon beckoned and it became the foundation of my ceramic practice.
I came to ceramics by following an instinct, an indescribable pull towards the material. I did a BTEC in Art and Design at Camberwell College of Arts and to deepen my practice, attended ceramic evening classes, then went on to study at the University of Brighton. After taking a 3D Craft and Design course, I was keen to set up my own studio. I found myself continuously compelled by ceramics and its vast possibilities. In those early years, I created functional pieces, bringing together my love for food and the senses with the aesthetics of the coast and horizon. The whole time, I experimented with glazes, finding the hues that resonated with my aspirations for the work.
After five years of exhibiting and teaching, I moved to London to do an MA in Ceramics and Glass at the Royal College of Art (RCA). The rigorous and diverse teaching and making process gave me deeper insight both into the work I was creating and what makes me want to make. I arrived at the RCA with seascape vessels that spun and had layered glazes to emulate the sea. I left with bold vibrant vessels with undulated tops.
Tanya Gomez; photograph by Layton Thompson
work by Tanya Gomez; photograph by Layton Thompson
Through my pieces, I create subtle movement and glazes that have a sense of depth and vitality to them. I have since continued to teach, have exhibited all over the world and continue to grow and evolve. Throughout, the sea continues to move me, and I have recently explored glaciers and icebergs. Undulated pieces are my signature works and in this Masterclass, I will describe how they are made, from the initial steps of throwing two forms and joining them together, to when they come out of the kiln glazed. I happily share my love of clay and how it offers lifetimes of learning and growing.