The rise of ceramics in Interior decoration…
The popularity of handmade, unique ceramics has been on the rise for sometime now and shows no sign of stopping or even slowing down. The handmade revolution could be seen as a partial back-lash from the mass produced and often made abroad with not necessarily with much consideration for the designer, process or environment. This has resulted in the up-surge of products made, not just in ceramic, by hand. Designed by a human, crafted with hands and limited machinery, there is a person behind the idea from conception to actuality. We can attribute the revival to many factors, including the rise of the internet and online-selling sights, artists/makers in the public eye, the notion of nostalgia and vintage, as well as the recession.
(Image: Justine Allison)
Access to the broad world of ceramics is incredibly easy today through the V&A’s permanent Ceramic gallery, which opened in 2009/10. The Contemporary Ceramics Centre, in the Bloomsbury area of London, has an ever changing display of contemporary studio ceramics, whilst York will become home to the ground-breaking new Centre of Ceramic Art, opening in August.
Here, in Cardiff, we are very lucky at the moment to be within a stones throw away from the National Museum Cardiff, home to the #Fragile? exhibition, which explores the beauty and diversity of ceramic practice. Open until October, this collection showcases some of Wales’s elite potters and ceramicists, from Walter Keeler, Adam Buick, Lowri Davies and Claire Curneen, to traditional and worldly pieces from Pablo Picasso, Felicity Aylieff and others.
(Image: Adam Buick, video still and pot)
Contemporary design trade and craft fairs are regular events throughout the creative calendar: In 2014 there were over 50 fairs/shows/festivals around the world, and in the UK there were 5 alone specialising in ceramics. So wherever you are in Great Britain, you can be sure of accessing a small portion of historical or contemporary clay culture. Cardiff will also host ‘Made By Hand’, an annual contemporary craft selling event at the end of October.
Must have accessory
The handmade notion has become very desirable for lots of people. The ability to support a small business, a designer maker following their creative dream, by purchasing and housing a small piece of their talent and skill is becoming an interior must-have. We all love to have something different, that piece that nobody else has.
(Image: Louisa Taylor)
Unlike the purchase of clothing or jewellery, which can be worn intermittently or for special occasions, a purchase of the ceramic kind is an investment for you and your home; how we decorate our houses and choose beautiful items to surround ourselves in snd to use, is an extension of our personality. The developmental process of one’s home is not a frequent a process as is the wardrobe we change into and out of daily. By buying a piece of ceramic for your home, you are stating your very high regard for it and the belief that your desire for it will not change as intermittently. It might be considered to be of value years down the line, it may be something one passes onto the next generation. To have something as unique as a piece of hand-crafted earth, dug from the ground, designed, moulded and fired; unique and as individual as we are.
Current ceramic trends
Hot trends at the moment include ‘construction/deconstruction’, ‘fairytale/fantasy’ ‘ceramic and?/mixed media’ and ‘blue/white’:
‘Construction/Deconstruction/Reconstruction’: Make, remake, tear down, add a bit, take it away. Exploring the material, pushing it to its limits, using it as a vehicle to represent something else, i.e. paper, fabric, etc. (Image: Carina Ciscato)
‘Fairytale/Fantasy’: Inspired by stories, story-telling, myths and legends. Coarsely constructed, delicate in detail, colourful , playful and evocative.
‘Ceramic and ?/Mixed media’: The inclusion of another material/object: nails, wire, string, cord, fabric, glass, wood. Aids interaction between customer/viewer and designer/maker.
‘Blue/White’: Traditional colours seeing a revival; in manufacturing, larger scale terms as well as from smaller designers/makers. Willow pattern given a new lease of life with simpler shapes and patterns. Comforting and memorable.
I am lucky to be working in a shared studio (‘Fireworks Clay studios’) in the heart of Cardiff, surrounded by incredibly talented ceramic designers such as Lowri Davies, Sara Moorhouse and Jin Eui Kim, to name but a few. I found myself in this city nearly 3 years ago, having applied for the Graduate Residency programme at Fireworks. 3 years on, I’m still here, I have a permanent studio space and am slowly but surely building up my business. (‘Louise Hall Ceramics’ should you wish to check me out!).
(Image: Louise Hall)
My work attempts to surprise and delight the viewer/buyer by challenging preconceptions about porcelain. Inspired by fabric and paper I create a range of pieces which are slumped, beaten, manipulated and just a little bit imperfect! Colour, texture and pattern plays a vital role also, encouraging interaction. Each piece is hand-built using thin slabs, working from various paper templates. I manipulate them by hand therefore the phrase ‘no two pieces are the same’ is very apt; although perhaps similar in shape, each will differ due to the force, positioning and timing of the instantaneous contact between man and material.
3 tips for choosing
Go with: your gut- Was it the first thing that grabbed your attention? Is it the piece you keep going back to?
Go with: how it feels in your hands- Ceramics are meant to be touched and interacted with (unless behind a chord in a museum..!). Is the texture particularly appealing? Have you learnt more about it with your hands than just your eyes?
Go with: it…just because you love it!
(Image: Lowri Davies)
Written by Louise Hall – Pad Deco Team