Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The Cream of New Designers' Ceramic Crop

It is a truth universally acknowledged that New Designers showcases great ceramics. An exaggeration perhaps, but the past five consecutive years of surprise-filled visits have suggested otherwise. Here's 5 exciting emerging designers that prove why the infinite possibilities mean clay is still one of the the most seductive materials they can't keep their hands off.

David Marques (Central Saint Martins)

David Marques
Central Saint Martins is one of the best ceramics BA courses in the country right now, judging from the calibre of its students' work. Marques is a Portuguese designer who has worked previously in the Geneva watch business. Remarkable attention to detail is evident in this stunning, functional clock with hand-painted gold transfers. It was custom made as part of an installation of seven cuckoo clocks for prestigious Portuguese porcelain company Vista Alegre's flagship stores in Lisbon and Porto.

Annie Jones (University of Sunderland),

Annie Jones
Is it a miniature garden? A new form of cigarettes-in-plaster contemporary art? Just some of the wild (and obviously wrong) possibilities that crossed my mind when I first saw Jones' intriguing vitrines. Jones' living laboratories are an ongoing body of research exploring the contained reactions of raw chemicals in clay bodies, over time and exposed to varying conditions.  The effects fluctuate massively and result in striking patterns and vivid colours, like the container above showing purple crystallised chalks drawing up green copper oxide (a potent glaze colourant) from the white porcelain, a process known as chromatography.

Ant Pipe (De Montfort University)

Ant Pipe
Repurposing moulds and debris collected from the derelict Spode factory site in Stoke-on-Trent, Pipe pays homage to the 18th century innovators who made English fine bone china world famous. The make-up-like hues and textures of the miniature pots range from the smoothest white to the blackest, rock-like of clays – a delight to the senses.

Charlotte Mary Pack (Central Saint Martins)

Charlotte Mary Pack
Having raised in a farm, Pack's love for animals is unquestionable, exemplified by an astonishing installation of tiny hand-modelled and sculpted porcelain mammals on the endangered species list (I lost count, but over 200 would be my guess). All creatures big and small are included – from a tree rat that measures approximately 10mm by 5mm (slightly bigger than a tic-tac), scaling up to the lifelike, fist-sized mountain gorilla. The designer has plans to make a similar work raising awareness on reptiles facing extinction due to man-made destruction. Surely a commission from Stella McCartney is on the horizon?

Carys Joan Evans (Falmouth University)

Carys Joan Evans
Perfectly proportioned at around a foot, Evans' elf-like human and flora hybrids encapsulate the imagination of the young Welsh maker who counts landscapes as a huge source of inspiration. The mellow brown, green and yellow glazes as well as the unusual organic materials she incorporates (boar hair for instance) brings her charming 'walking forests' to life.

New Designers Part 2 (focusing on visual communication, industrial and spatial design), opens July 3 - 6. 

Image credits from top: (David Marques) studiodavidmarques.com, (Annie Jones) Photography by Jo Howell on annie-jones.com, (Carys Joan Evans) carysjoanevans.wix.com. All other images taken by me with permission of artist

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