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Natural forms in Ceramic Design - 5 Ceramicists Whose Designs Merge the Outdoors with our Interiors

At Maud and Mabel we represent many artists who take inspiration from the natural world. Sofie Berg, Nancy Fuller, Sarah Jerath, Nobue Ibaraki and Masako Nakagami are five ceramicists whose organic ceramics are directly informed by their experiences of nature and their surroundings. Their organic forms provide the opportunity of bringing the natural world, and subsequently a myriad of health and well-being benefits, into the home.
As well as the clear and obvious aesthetic positives of having products made from natural materials indoors, they are scientifically proven to reduce heartrates and promote productivity. Sofie Berg, Nancy Fuller, Sarah Jerath, Nobue Ibaraki and Masako Nakagami all create vessels which are intrinsically connected to nature through their choice of materials.
Swedish ceramist Sofie Berg collects birch roots for the handles of her teapots from her family farm in Bortom sjön where she spent her childhood. Sofie grew up in an environment that encouraged the craft of durable, functional pieces, demonstrated in the purity of her work, which remains true to its natural state and without unnecessary adornment. Sofie’s kiln is fired by wood from her farm, further illustrating the importance of nature to her ceramic practice.

Sofie Berg Handmade Ceramic Teapot Inspired by Natural Forms 

Like Sofie, Nancy Fuller’s firing method is similarly embedded with nature. Nancy fires her work in a traditional Japanese wood kiln called an anagama, which she built herself. Living and working in Scotland, Nancy’s practice is informed by the wood-fired ceramics she encountered whilst studying in Taiwan, the country of her birth. The natural forms of Nancy’s vessels, constructed from clay combined with raw materials such as split pine and beech, have a significantly organic-looking appearance as a result of her use of the coiling technique. Coiling gives the pieces softened outlines that are softened further during the firing process.

Nancy Fuller Vessel

Sarah Jerath’s naturally informed ceramic practice can be traced to her degree in Ceramics, Sustainable and Natural Silicate Material Research at Lancashire University. Growing up in Lancashire, with views of Snowdonia, the Lake District, the Irish Sea, woods and field, nature was and is part of Sarah’s daily life. As well as continuing to act as a major source of inspiration, nature provides the geological materials, including tree ash and minerals, that her natural forms are composed of.
Japanese ceramicist Nobue Ibaraki hand-builds her earthenware works with clay from Tajimi, near Kyushu volcano. The extraordinary metallic-looking surfaces of Nobue’s work are reminiscent of buried treasure and are caused by the chemical reactions that occur during firing because of the minerals, cobalt, copper and other metal oxides within the clay and natural glazes.

Natural designs by Nobue Ibaraki 

Masako Nakagami was also born in Japan and is back living in Kyoto after a period living and working in the UK. Masako’s ceramics are crafted from clay dug from the mountains around her studio. Natural forms are explored in the recurring flowing lines of her work, inspired by rivers, and textures that alternate between rough and smooth, as well as replications of berries in her nest vases.

Masako Nakagami designs

Sofie Berg, Nancy Fuller, Sarah Jerath, Nobue Ibaraki and Masako Nakagami draw on the materials and ideas offered to us by nature in unique and interesting ways. If you are inspired to bring the natural world into your home, please visit us in the Gallery or on our website, where you will find wonderful pieces by the above artists, and many more.


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