Wheels of fortune: made in ceramic

The New Designers fair is a hotbed of graduate talent strong on ceramics. Emma Love meets three designers sure to catch your eye

Though the BBC’s Great Pottery Throw Down has a lot to answer for, ceramics in general seem to have captured the public’s attention. The York Art Gallery launched the Centre of Ceramic Art last year which boasts the biggest collection of British studio ceramics in the UK. Last year also saw the launch of the £34 million World of Wedgwood, on the outskirts of Stoke-on-Trent.

There were record visitor numbers at the recent Ceramic Art London fair and next week the focus will be on emerging ceramics talent when the annual New Designers exhibition opens in London. While the main focus is on 3,000 new design graduates, the One Year On section showcases designers in their first year of business.

Curator Rheanna Lingham says the One Year On ceramics category is particularly strong. “We were looking for originality of ideas and high-quality making, and that’s exactly what came through,” she says. Here are our top picks from the exhibition.

New Designers runs from 29 June – 9 July (newdesigners.com)

Aimee Bollu: found objects in pop pastel colours

“I’m always picking up plastic things in pop pastel colours,” says Aimee Bollu. “Last time I went skip diving I found two pieces of pink cone joined like an egg timer.”

Bollu has always been a collector and during her decorative arts BA at Nottingham Trent University she started pairing her finds (twisted metal, neon twine, an old oven dial) with her slip-cast clay vessels. “I try to create a conversation about objects that are wasted, combining different materials so it’s hard to tell what’s been made and what’s found.”

For One Year On she’s experimenting with scale, using cast-off moon-shape bolts as handles for oversized cups. What’s the best thing she’s found? “A bicycle pedal covered in barnacles, but it’s too precious to use.”

From £50 for a small cup (aimeebollu.co.uk)

Hannah Tounsend: layers of stones and shells

Hannah Tounsend
A large pot by Hannah Tounsend
‘I physically embed layers of the landscape into my pots’: Hannah Tounsend. Photograph: Courtesy of New Designers

Craggy cliff tops, washed-up, sea-polished pebbles and painted fishing boats: these are the starting points for Hannah Tounsend’s ceramic pots which capture the moody hues and weatherworn surfaces of the British coastline. Fragments of found glass, shells and rusty washers from St Ives harbour appear as coloured flecks in the outer layer of her clay (her unusual hybrid making-method combines slip casting and throwing).

“I physically embed layers of the landscape into my pots,” she says. The De Montfort University MA graduate has just returned from a month’s residency in Denmark – part of her prize for winning the Fresh award at last year’s British Ceramics Biennial. Now she’s diversifying into mono prints, too: “I’ve always kept my mark-making in my sketchbook, but now I’m displaying the prints with the ceramics to show the relationship between the two.”

From £85 for a small vessel (hannahtounsend.co.uk)

Yuta Segawa: hand-thrown miniature pots

Yuta Segawa standing alongside a table covered with hundreds of his minature pots in rows.
‘There’s a mysterious charm about making miniature pots’: Yuta Segawa. Photograph: Chiragh Bhatia

In a colour spectrum of more than 1,000 specially developed glazes, Yuta Segawa makes hand-thrown miniature pots. So tiny you can hold several in the palm of your hand, they push the idea of micro craft to the limit. The small pots are a big hit: the Camberwell College of Arts graduate sold all of his stock of 500 during Ceramic Art London.

Inspired by Scandinavian artists such as Berndt Friberg and Stig Lindberg, who both made small-scale ceramics, he developed the minute into something new. “There’s a mysterious charm about making miniature pots,” he says. “You don’t need a large scale to express the beauty of clay, glazes and shapes.”

From £20 for a pot (yutasegawa.com)

Emma Love

The GuardianTramp

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