Grey Bloom by Michael Eden, 2010

Gillian Lowndes 1936-2010

We were saddened to hear of the death of ceramist Gillian Lowndes last week.

Gillian Lowndes was born in Cheshire in 1936 and trained firstly as a sculptor but changed to ceramics at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London (1956-59) and went on to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris. Her childhood in India and travel in Nigeria in the 1970s informed her work and gave her a lifelong interest in archaeology and ethnography.

Gillian Lowndes challenged the traditional notions of the vessel form in ceramics, and through her non-traditional experimental methods of incorporating found objects and materials from everyday life such as wire and tin cans into her ceramic work, she continually challenged the orthodoxy of pure ceramics.

She also exerted a powerful influence on ceramics during her time teaching at Camberwell School of Art and Central St Martins College of Art and Design between 1975 and the early 1990s. Gillian encouraged students such as Henry Pim, Angus Suttie and Jill Crowley to think about the discipline in its broadest possible sense and to challenge their own making. Her work is represented in many British collections including the Crafts Council Collection and Victoria and Albert Museum. She had major shows at the Crafts Council (1987) and Contemporary Applied Arts (1994) and featured in the pivotal exhibition The Raw and the Cooked (1993–1994). Her work was also shown in the recent Crafts Council touring exhibition Deviants (2008/09).

See Gillian’s work in the Crafts Council Collection here

See also