I don’t know quite how it happened, but I’ve developed quite a thing for ceramicists. There is something intriguing about vessels that have traditionally been used in a utilitarian capacity being formed as a thing of beauty. Preciousness. Art.
The craven side of me tells me, ‘its just a plate, eat off it’ but the artist in me wants to hold it in higher regard, display it and admire it like any other work of art that adorns my wall. Thus ceramic arts create quite a conflict within, and to be honest, I kind of like it.
Swimmers and the pool
Very recently I learned of the work of Helen Beard, a ceramicist, living and working in London. Helen creates wonderful start white pieces upon which she hand paints every day scenes, people and occurrences. When these pieces are grouped together they form a story. What a lovely idea.
Skaters on ice
Her artist statement reads:
Helen Beard’s distinctive pieces begin with drawings of quirky individuals and curious places, which she uses to illustrate her hand-thrown pots. By grouping the pots together, she likes to tell a story, creating whimsical scenes that capture the insignificant yet precious moments that make up our daily lives.
Every pot is individually thrown in Limoges porcelain on a potter’s wheel before being hand-painted. The pots are decorated using a technique that Helen developed to create an effect similar to watercolour and ink. Her freehand line drawing is transferred onto the pot using a form of relief print. Colour is painted over the drawing using different washes of ceramic stain, and finally the pots are dip-glazed and smoothed down ready for the final stage of firing. Each is unique – a work of art, but also a functional piece of domestic ware.
Art and functional domestic ware? It seems my quandary is over. Currently her work is available in the US via Ashes and Milk (a great artist outlet you should definitely bookmark) and Helen is known to show from time to time in NY and roundabouts. Sign up to her mailing list for more info.
It’s been some time since I’ve visited friends at Craft Central. I only hope that next time I am in London I can pop by and see some of Helen’s lovely work in person.
images from helen beards site
Filed under: Craven Wishlist, Kitchen Tools | Tagged: design, entertainment, food, pottery, whimsy | Leave a comment »