Archives for posts with tag: Breon O’Casey

IMG_1082Before writing this blog, I came from my studio and noticed some broken pieces of industrial rubber sitting by the curb. Hardened from weathering and worn by vehicles driving over them, the crackled black surface retained a striking yellow streak. To most, their presence would go unnoticed, but to me, as a ceramic artist, they possessed a visual potential that I instinctively knew could lead to a new series of works.

IMG_7265It may seem obvious to say that observation is an invaluable part of an artist’s practice, but for me, it’s a research method and form of image collection that I have developed over the years – from drawing and painting in sketchbooks and making cardboard maquettes to forming slabs in clay. Observation has become as integral to my process as making and firing, and without the ability to observe and record my surroundings I think my work would be very different.

I like the notion that from a small mark on a wall, a spray-painted number on a paving slab, a rusted sheet of corrugated metal or broken piece of rubber, it is possible to see beyond ideas of unsightly detritus and reinterpret those markings or objects through the creative process.

IMG_7781I’ve been working with clay for the past 20 years. For me, clay is a material that’s always challenging, yet ideal for creating the forms I wish to make. It can be unpredictable, and hard work, but ultimately rewarding and gives me scope to define my interest in the relationship between industry and nature. Working with clay also means working with a specific series of tools: a kiln, cutting and rolling equipment, slips, oxides and glazes are all vital to the physical process of ceramics, but something that’s invaluable to me and an integral part of my own creative process, is the ability to observe the world around me and to translate these observations into clay.

Rebecca Appleby, September 2016RA_ceramic

Rebecca Appleby | Urban Palimpsest  is on show at New Craftsman from 10 September to 8 October alongside Matthew Lanyon | In The Tracks of the Yellow Dog, with sculpture by Breon O’Casey and ceramics by Matthew Chambers.

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campsite washday lowres

As 2014 draws to a close here at New Craftsman and the New Year is upon us, we have fired up the Hotpod and are taking stock of a year of fantastic exhibitions. It’s been pretty peaceful along Fore Street in December, and now there is a rich purple light from the sweeping Atlantic sky that makes the sand of St Ives Bay glow and the rolling sea turn a vibrant aquamarine. In lots of ways it’s our favourite time of year, when West Cornwall is as dazzlingly colourful as it is in mid-summer, and the beaches and streets are empty and all our own.

This time of year also inspires many of our best New Craftsman artists: in the paintings of NC favourite Neil Davies you can see the awesome energy of winter in Cornwall, with its ominous clouds, blinding shafts of light and wind battered heath land. Painter Emma Jeffryes’ sellout 2014 show was inspired by last winter’s powerful storms, a series of breathtaking weather events that gave a thrilling new feel to her work.

In winter we wait, and watch and enjoy the ice cold beauty of this remote peninsula. Christmas lights sway back and forth above our heads along pretty, cobbled streets and reflect in the harbour at night. Smeaton’s Pier is swallowed by pounding walls of salt water and the higher parts of town take the force of a brutal north wind. To quote Neil Davies on the pleasures of living in Cornwall, ‘there is a sense of timelessness, and of nature being, as it should be, very much in charge.’

It is a time to enjoy the calm, because before long we’ll start looking forward to the warmth and the hustle and bustle that comes with spring and the happy energy of St Ives’ many visitors.

Keeping us company over the next few weeks is a beautiful exhibition of contemporary jewellery by Guy Royle, Breon O’Casey and Paul Preston, and a unique collection of one-off works by the Leach Pottery’s talented studio team. Most fitting for the season are Jenny Ayrton’s icey blocks of contemporary glass, with their precious scenes of homely domesticity, perfect for us as we cosy on down for New Year.

Image: Jenny Ayrton, Campsite Washday (wire and metal in molten glass)

Journey Jar

This evening sees the opening of our much anticipated Easter exhibition, so we’re busy putting the final touches to our show as St Ives’ long awaited half term visitors grace Fore Street and the town gets back into its busy seasonal swing.

We’re incredibly proud to be showing the work of ceramicist Adam Buick, who has exhibited regularly at NC for the past four years and in 2013 was nominated for the prestigious Jerwood Makers Prize. And as if having this year’s most high profile British maker at NC wasn’t enough, Adam has created an exclusive collection for our show using Cornish materials including China Clay from Tresowen and Doble’s clay pit St.Agnes, granite dust from Castle-an-Dinas Quarry and metal ore from Porthtowan. We think Buick’s Korean inspired Moon Jars – whether two feet tall or small enough to fit in the palm of your hand – are among the most beautiful ceramics on the arts scene today.

Accompanying him is another of the UKs most celebrated craftsmen, whose talent with hot glass has made his London Glassblowing Studio one of the most influential glass studios in the world. Peter Layton’s distinctive, richly coloured works exude real passion and are dazzling here on show in the early spring sunshine. Layton’s spirited pieces are set against a new collection of works by well-loved St Ives artist Emma Jeffryes, whose paintings are filled with all the contrasting splash and serenity of life here on St Ives bay. All three of these outstanding artists will be at our Private View party tonight along with our many friends and clients, and we’ll be launching our 2014 season in style!

We’ve lots to look forward to this year, with forthcoming shows by painters Lucie Bray, Neil Davies and Matthew Lanyon, ceramicists Akiko Hirai, Chris Keenan and Matthew Chambers and craftsmen Guy Royle and Breon O’casey among others. And while we are on the subject of extraordinary talent – take a look at this video of the work of Rebecca McDonald, who thrilled us with the most spectacular exhibition here at NC in December. We dare you not to fall in love with her as much as we have! http://vimeo.com/89178378

Image /  Adam Buick, Moon Jar from the Cornish Series