Julia Ellen Lancaster graduated with an MA in Environmental Media from the Royal College of Art. Following a short time spent in Tokyo, she was selected to undertake a residency in St Ives, UK in 2020 as part of the Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada pottery centenary celebrations, responding to the theme of the Leach as a place of experimentation in partnership with Porthmeor Studios. In 2021 she was awarded a further residency with Leach Pottery, being one of the first artists to take up a residency at the historically significant Anchor studio, the original home the Newlyn Art School. Prior to this, she was responsible for setting up one of the first work/live artists residency schemes in London as well as managing two galleries before returning to her own practice.
Julia Ellen Lancaster works with clay, minerals and rocks, some spanning millions of years of the rock cycle, excavated from different geological sites. The sculptures she makes include salvaged detritus and fragments, rejected from previous incarnations, reused and reassembled. The materials chosen offer a connection to the past, marking and capturing a sense of embedded time. Many of her works are fired to extreme heat, often repeatedly, to create forms that investigate the relationship between humans and the landscape, seen as connected and interchangeable. Some works are however left unfired, risking their eventual swifter demise. In doing so, these works only exist as a digital footprint – their beauty residing in their temporary status, their instability and their transience, so challenging us to find beauty in the different, the unrecognisable and the impermanent.
The works often mimic primitive or other-worldly organisms that embrace the beauty of difference, imagining an intelligent future built from the remains of the past and our present.
Julia Ellen Lancaster currently teaches in a professional ceramics studio on the South East coast, UK, as well as teaching drawing at the Art Academy London. Since 2022 Lancaster continues to run a series of seminars ‘Clay in Conversation’ in partnership with the Ceramic Research Centre, University of Westminster. Her upcoming exhibition takes place at Liminal Gallery, Margate from October 7, 2023.