To coincide with London Craft Week 2018, The Arts Club, Dover Street London hosted a session with Young Masters Maylis Grand prize ceramicists Jo Taylor, Lucille Lewin and Tessa Eastman. These ceramicists were in conversation with the Crafts Council’s Daniella Wells, collector and curator Preston Fitzgerald, and Cynthia Corbett founder and director of Young Masters Art Prize and director of The Cynthia Corbett Gallery – discussing their practices and offer an insight into their processes of making.
Jo Taylor is inspired by decorative architectural features such as ornate plaster ceilings. Taylor enjoys the grand gesture present in large-scale relief, the drama of deep shadow, the dialogue between space, structure and ornament. The making process influences the outcome; connection with raw material is intrinsic to the shapes and marks made. Clay pieces are made and marked as the potter’s wheel rotates until a collection of loops and curls amass. More clay is manipulated by hand to create further pieces alluding to the organic; all are then joined and fired to create a unique work.
Taylor graduated with distinction from the MA Ceramics course at Bath Spa University in July 2012; based in Wiltshire her time is divided between studio practice and teaching. She was a finalist of the Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize in 2014.
Lucille Lewin's work is the result of research into the origins of 18th Century European porcelain, and the alchemists who invented it. The work references the Victorian Cabinet of Curiosities, and the early microscopic photographs of the natural world by Karl Blosfeldt. Lewin takes great inspiration from the crystal rooms at the Science Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. Lewin’s sculptural ceramic objects explore the relationship between form, chemistry and process.
Lucille Lewin is a South African born British sculptor working in porcelain, glass and metal. Founder and director of Whistles (1976-2001) and Creative Director of Liberty (2007-2008), Lewin left fashion for a career in sculpture with a Diploma in Fine Art and Ceramics from CityLit (2014). She recently completed her Masters at the Royal College of Art (2017) and has shown at Christies, Messums Wiltshire. Lewin is the winner of the 2017 Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize.
Tessa Eastman works by hand in clay, using multiple techniques to create complex ceramic structures. Time is devoted to achieving rich glazed surfaces. Her pieces are characterised by a curious, often playful ambiguity, frequently inspired by microscopic structural details found in the natural world. Fixing ungraspable, transformative, and natural states of growth is crucial to her aesthetic. The strange otherworldliness seen in the natural world transports her away from the mundane, and it is her intention to make a fixed ceramic form seem alive. She strives to evoke awareness of life’s impermanence.
Eastman graduated from University of Westminster in 2006 with a BA in Ceramics, and MA in Ceramics and Glass from Royal College of Art in 2015. She won the Craft Emergency Award, with an exhibition at Aspex Gallery Portsmouth, in 2016. She has also exhibited at the Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale, Korea; Puls Contemporary Ceramics, Puls Gallery, Brussels; and British Ceramics Biennial: Fresh, Spode Factory, Stoke-on-Trent. Eastman was a finalist of the Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize in 2017.
Daniella Wells joined the Crafts Council in 2002 to launch the inaugural Collect, the international art fair for contemporary objects at the V&A. In 2009 she was integral to the re-launch and growth of Collect into the Saatchi Gallery as well as overseeing the production of Origin at Somerset House in 2008 and 2009. As a freelance consultant, Daniella is Galleries Liaison for Collect and works on Exhibitor Relations for Tresor Contemporary Craft – due to launch in Basel in September 2017. Daniella was a Ceramics judge for the Woman’s Hour Craft Prize 2017 – a BBC, Crafts Council and V&A initiative. Previously, after studying Ceramics at Central Saint Martins, Daniella worked with Janice Blackburn at Sotheby’s producing selling exhibitions of contemporary decorative arts in New York and London from 1998-2002.
Preston Fitzgerald has been collecting contemporary ceramics for over twenty years starting in New York City and now based in London. He mixes contemporary ceramics with many pieces of antique ceramics. He has curated contemporary craft and design exhibitions including working with The Royal College of Art, The Flow Gallery, London and Terra Delft Gallery, Holland. After postgraduate degrees at Christie’s Education and Sotheby’s Institute of Art Preston worked with Janice Blackburn at Sotheby’s contemporary decorative arts selling exhibitions. He has given lectures including at The National Centre for Craft and Design study day, ‘The Studio Potter’, regarding collecting contemporary ceramics.
Guests from 6pm
Talk from 6.30 – 7.30pm
The Arts Club
40 Dover Street
This ticketed event ran alongside a specially curated Young Masters ceramics exhibition open by appointment at The Cynthia Corbett Gallery, Wimbledon, London.