London based ceramic artist Abigail Schama came to pottery from painting, having studied Fine Art at Camberwell College of Arts and Bristol and completing an MA in Art Theory at Chelsea College of Arts. Schama trained under Loewe Craft Prize finalist Akiko Hirai, who introduced her to the beauty of functionality. Schama lives and works in London, and is the founder of The Mews Coachworks, a female makers community in North West London.
Artists as varied as Rembrandt and Twombly continue to inform Schama’s practise, in illuminating and animating her surfaces, while the work of her teacher Akiko Hirai impressed upon her the relationship of a given piece to the long history of forms. Exhibiting a prevailing attraction to Ancient Greek and Japanese vessels designed to function in a domestic setting, these forms through history are taken as motifs by Schama to interpret and play with; rendering them unfamiliar and anthropomorphic - ‘questions of functionality and dysfunctionality are a source of creativity’. Each with its own unique history, Schama’s work is often inspired by Greek mythology, simultaneously paying homage to tradition and driving her singular aesthetic. Schama’s works are wheel thrown in combinations of dark and light stoneware, and display an experimental, playful engagement with a palette of dolomite and transparent glazes. Some works undergo a further firing to be lightly gilded with gold lustre - breaking up the clay’s earthly character while honouring the quirks in its skin and contours. Each piece responds in its own unique manner to the rhythms of the wheel and the relationship between body and glaze, and a strong sense of the maker’s hand is present in the marks and codes which describe how the pot came into being.