Sunday, 2 December 2012

Maker of the Week - Alice Shields

Alice Shields is a ceramicist making coasters, cufflinks & brooches decorated with transfer illustrations

Where did you train? What did training teach you and what do you wish it had taught you?
I did a BA degree in Three Dimensional Ceramic Design at Bath Spa University. My degree taught me that there is too much to learn about Clay! I wish it had prepared me a little more for the world post University and the reality of being self employed.

Is being a designer / maker your only job?
This is now my sole employment

One favourite living designer?
I really admire the ceramicist Edmund de Waal. I love the simplicity in his thrown work, his use of glazes and the presentation in which he displays his works. His vessels have a narrative and speak to each other.

One favourite historical designer?
I love the figurative Ceramics that came out of Staffordshire in the 19th Century. Most of the makers weren’t credited for their work unfortunately. I find the social and whimsical narratives very inspiring within my own work.

What is the most interesting / fun job you have had?
It wasn’t paid employment but I went to Honduras when I was 19 and worked on an Iguana station for a month. That was pretty interesting!

What is your most prized item of design / craft?
I picked up some beautiful ceramics last year in Morocco. I love the colours and patterns used in Islamic art and design. It also reminds me of the 3 hours spent at this Pottery and how bored my friends were as I tried to narrow down my selection.
What item of design / craft do you covet most?
An Edmund de Waal Vessel!

At age 16 who most influenced your style? I was heavily into drawing with pastels and pencils at school and I loved Edgar Degas.

Last book / film that blew your mind?
I’m just reading George Orwell's Down and out in London and Paris and I literally cannot put it down. Moonrise Kingdom was also a treat. Definitely Wes Anderson’s best to date.

What music are you currently listening to?
I have 6 Music on all day in my studio so whatever Lauren Laverne wants to play for me.

How many hours do you waste on the internet each day? Probably more than I should.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
New Zealand because it is such a beautiful country. It is geographically so diverse and I
love walking and being outside. Whilst I am a big people watcher, there are more sheep than people which is quite nice!

Where and what is your studio?
My studio is at Bath Artist’s Studios, with a collective of about 60 artists. I share with two other Ceramicists and we are in a rather small space but we have room for a kiln, a couple of wheels and a few rickety tables and shelves.

Do you have a good work/life balance?
Having a balance is really important to me. Christmas will always be a really busy period for any maker so it is important to me throughout the rest of the year to make sure that I have weekends and evenings off when I can to see friends and do fun things to stimulate me and motivate me to get back in the studio on Monday morning!

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