Interview with Carole Epp - Artist of the month, April 2011

Interview with ceramic artist Carole Epp - Artist of the month, April 2011

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter if you want to read more interviews with ceramic artists.

Ceramics Now Magazine
: In what techniques do you usually work and what materials do you use?

Carole Epp: Since I create more than one line of work, I’m afraid this will be a long answer! I have for a long time maintained both a sculptural and a functional line of ceramic objects.

My sculptural work incorporates hand built and slip cast components; found objects, and constructed objects of various materials (most often wood). Through hand building and slip-casting the clay form is developed. I then use underglazes, engobes and China Paints to decorate the work.

My functional line of objects varies in terms of techniques all the time. I will sometimes throw porcelain, or hand build dark mid temperature clays, or slipcast forms. This is a process for me in which I aim to simply have fun, explore technique, and ideally constantly evolve. I love throwing with porcelain (Southern Ice in particular).  My aesthetic leans towards more crisp bright white objects with a bit of color added through glaze or underglazes. Lately I’ve been developing a body of work that is inspired by my young son. I’ve been stamping and drawing (scraffito) a lot of cute imagery on my work. Surprisingly this work has been incredibly rewarding in that it simply brings joy and smiles to me as I make it, and to those that use it.


She felt like a joke and was falling a part at the seams, 2011, Mid-fired white stoneware, underglaze, china paint - View her works

What is your present project, what’s its history and how do you make the pieces?

My present project is a series of figurative sculptures that reference kitsch figurines, lowbrow art, DIY culture, and popular/ western/ consumer culture. Drawing from very personal narratives the work is an investigation into the human condition presenting figurative tableaus of death and love, hope and failure, family and social pressures. The aim of my work is always to stimulate conversation, thought and action in a pro-active method. I desire to address issues of political, social, humanitarian concern. Issues are taken from contemporary media, but addressed through my own personal voice.

I have been working on this type of work for over six years now. There is always new subject matter to develop, more dialogues to be presented and discussed, new imagery that floats into my mind. As life changes, this body of work changes for me.

Read More

Interview with Patrick Colhoun - New artist, April 2011

Interview with ceramic artist Patrick Colhoun - New artist, April 2011

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter if you want to read more interviews with ceramic artists.

Ceramics Now Magazine
: In what techniques do you usually work and what materials do you use?

Patrick Colhoun: I am self taught and started throwing on the wheel in the very early days and quickly progressed to handbuilding, to experiment with form and shape. Sometimes I combine the two and start from a thrown vessel and handbuild onto it. I work mostly in black clay. I like the way I can handbuild with it and the darkness of the body suits the finished work in terms of texture and the overall mood of the piece I am trying to convey. The subject of my work can be quite dark and masculine and so this process suits what I am trying to achieve. My palette of glazes is very restricted. I rarely use bright colour, mostly dark and metallic finishes.  


Chain Mail - View his works

What is your present project, what’s its history and how do you make the pieces?

My current work is centered around the development of a series of partial heads, which are usually looking downwards in a brooding, contemplative way. I have introduced various piercings to the heads. Because people do not expect to see these, they add an element of shock and intrigue to the piece. These pieces are in some ways a series of self portraits both in physical terms but also in terms of the mood they convey, I started making these after the death of a close family member and it meant the making of these pieces became a very therapeutic process. The pieces are handbuilt by coiling and are refined as they dry. 

Do you remember the starting point, your early works?

I have only been exhibiting my work for two years and making for slightly more than that. I am completely self taught with no ceramic or art training and a career beforehand. Only when I was made redundant from my job did I start to think about exhibiting my work and the first two years of my career have seen my work be influenced by a number of things that I never expected. My early work was influenced by redundancy and to a degree growing up in Belfast during the Troubles. After that, I liked the reaction I got to slightly darker subject matter and deliberately developed a style that was strong, masculine and slightly controversial. I began to look into other slightly dark influences such as containment, aggression and sexual deviancy. I think that this was my way of expressing the fact that I had worked for other people for nearly twenty years and this was me rebelling slightly, through my ever more controversial subject matter.

Read More

Interview with John Shirley - Ceramic Technique, April 2011

Interview with South African ceramic artist John Shirley - Ceramic Technique - Soluble Salts, April 2011

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter if you want to read more interviews with ceramic artists.

Ceramics Now Magazine
: In what technique do you usually work and what materials do you use?

John Shirley: I currently work in a bone china body which I produce from locally available materials. I have always been drawn to translucent bodies and the one I am currently making is more translucent than any I have used previously. Being bone china it is also whiter then any body I have previously used as the bone ash in the body acts as a bleach on any traces of iron in the body. The work is cast in moulds which I make using Paperplaster. This method uses less plaster than conventional mould making methods and results in much lighter moulds which are far easier to handle. The pieces are bisque fired to 1080oC and then sanded to achieve an extremely smooth surface which I decorate with wax resist and solutions of various soluble salts before the final firing to 1250oC in an electric kiln.

Ceramics Now Magazine: What is the starting point in your investigation (research) with soluble salts?

I have always been intrigued with soluble salts ever since first seeing the work of Arne Åse. A local ceramic supplier had some cobalt chloride that had been on the shelves for some time and presented it to me. So began the tests with solubles and I am hooked to this day. I have tested a number of the salts in different solutions and in different layers. For some effects I fire between layers to achieve specific effects. Some of the salts are not available locally, and I work mainly with different strengths of Cobalt, Ferric and Nickel Chloride and Potassium Dichromate solutions.

Salts of Cobalt and chrome on bone china - View his works

What did you learn from working with different materials?

I am fascinated by the chemical aspect of the ceramic process, and much of my work has been informed by this. I have previously worked extensively with crystalline glazes and creating reduction effects in electric firings. I think technical challenges are what keep me going and there is always something to investigate. I find that for me it is essential to focus on one thing at a time and at present I am occupied with the effects of layering the salt solutions.

Read More