Inspired by… is the V&A’s annual art competition for people on part-time courses. Participants create a work of art or craft inspired by the collections of either the V&A South Kensington or the V&A Museum of Childhood. Prize-winners and other selected works are displayed in the museum of their inspiration.
This year, two learners from our pottery courses have been selected as exhibitors for the Inspired by... exhibition taking place at the Morley Gallery, London, from 8 May to 24 May 2018. Find out more about the exhibition here: www.inspired.by
I have always had an interest in Kate Malones’s work and the first time I saw a piece in the flesh was at the V&A.
After seeing her work on display, I started to look at her collections over the years and loved her passion for natural forms.
When I started on my course at Redbridge Institute, I took inspiration from her works and started to create my own take on the theme.
I photographed and sketched a variety of fruits and vegetables and I then decided to hand build my own pumpkin from white earthenware.
After bisque firing I was pleased with the outcome so I invested in some glazes to be able to complete the piece.
I wanted the piece to have a bright kitsch look so went for vibrant colours when choosing the glazes. When the finished work came out the kiln I was delighted with the end result and it has now given me the confidence to create a whole collection of large fruit and veg.
Inspired by cottage garden flowers, I became passionate about the shape and form of the foxglove. Studying the plant through various stimuli of foxgloves from the collection helped me discover the best way to form each bloom in clay and layer them up to create the beautiful foxglove plant. Looking at the images helped me to figure out how to transfer them to a 2D shape that I would cut out in clay before molding back into a 3D form.
I created an hourglass shaped vase built from slabs as my base, replicating the female form. Using slip I painted my vase before adding each foxglove to ensure there was a colour to the base (as I knew it would be difficult to paint glaze into the tiny crevices). I created each bloom individually, shaping and sculpting before joining to the vase from the bottom upwards. Being careful in the positioning of each bloom, helped to create the layered effect of how foxglove blooms grow, draping gracefully over each other.
Underglazes were used to paint the blooms white and a mixture of tin white glaze and underglazes of red and colbalt were used to add the speckled detail giving it an irridescent glow. Oxides and underglazes were added to the sgraffito leaves and branches to add more depth to the colours. Finally the piece was covered in a clear glaze. The size of this piece and the fragility of the blooms made this an extremely difficult piece to create especially from my wheelchair, but I was determined to push myself physically as well as creatively and I am extremely proud of this final creation.