Built: An exploration of technique
Our latest exhibition, BUILT, celebrates the art of hand-crafted works and processes. This showcase brings together seven exceptional international artists, each translating their unique voice into a material process.
Ditte Blohm, Tor Harrison, Junsuke Inatomi, Sun Kim, Jennifer Morris, Linda Ouhbi, Karina Smagulova.
Hand building can be a deeply personal expression of making. It is a slow, laborious collaboration between the artist and their raw material. Using their hands to work with the earth allows us to transcend our modern lives and connect with the shared ground beneath our feet. These artists offer us a reset, a recalibration. Their process and rituals become a meditation of their inner and outer landscapes, imbuing their works with the geography that surrounds them.
“There is something profoundly human to want to make something with your hands and I was instantly drawn to this soft malleable earth material. I have been on my journey with clay ever since. Growing up in Cornwall I was always drawn to the feeling of awe that you can access there, alone, and monumental. I feel the salt and granite are in my bones. I love the elemental proximity to the edges of a land mass and the liminal spaces created by moving tides and eroding material.” - Tor Harrison
Although traditional hand-built ceramics have a rich history, their methods combined with modern techniques bring exciting new forms. Sun Kim uses a combination of wheel throwing, hand-building, and assembling techniques to create works inspired by architecture and nature. These works have soft, geometric forms that take advantage of the material’s malleability, resulting in sleek, complex structures that showcase contemporary design using traditional methods.
“I enjoy very much the softness of the wheel-thrown clay but altering afterwards really allows me to be more imaginative with the forms and shapes I can create. I think it brings some sense of tension and energy into my work.” - Sun Kim
Hand building allows for structural versatility; different methods enable the artist to manipulate the clay in specific ways. The Coiling technique used in constructing Linda Ouhbi and Karina Smagulova’s vessels has allowed them to produce fluid and asymmetrical structures that riff on contemporary ideas surrounding their practice.
“I rarely do a sketch. I may want verticality, duality, an opening, a certain curve, high or low room. I start a piece with an initial intuition, and it evolves over the course of its construction. I start by cutting a free-form base from a slab of Burgundy stoneware. Next comes the succession of coils which I flatten into strips before applying them. Each strip is worked with the finger and the stanchion to assemble the material while refining it. These are simple gestures that are rhythmic and repetitive like a mantra.” - Linda Ouhbi
When an artist hand-builds with clay, they engage in a prolonged dialogue with their material. The process involves finding the perfect balance between the artist's vision and the clay's responsiveness. Each piece created showcases the construction and clay used, from Junsuke Intomi's undulating Elongated Vases to Tor Harrison's Earth Vessel 01 in visceral scorched umber.
"Each vessel serves as the origin for the one that follows. I repurpose elements that resonate and carefully adjust those that do not, striving to create a more refined iteration. Over time, this evolving form may become the starting point for something entirely new. This process holds the potential to continue creating infinitely, even though I may only explore a fraction of its outcomes in my lifetime." - Karina Smagulova
We are thrilled to present the works of these seven dynamic artists and invite you to explore the tactile vessels and objects currently being exhibited at BUILT. The exhibition will be running from January 18th to February 4th.