Currently showing in 'Hoard' at York Art Gallery, until 3rd December
Our Directory Maker of the Week, Kate Haywood, talks to us about getting into making, what inspires her and her favourite part of the making process.
Who or what got you into making?
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t making, I’ve always had a desire to make and experiment with materials, so it seemed a natural progression to apply to Art College.
I originally trained as a studio Jeweller, at Central Saint Martins College of Art, before going on to study for a BA and MA in Ceramics at Camberwell College of Art and Cardiff School of Art. This combination of material knowledge, working between scales and disciplines, has informed the way my practice has developed.
Could you please tell us a bit about your work?
I make poetic objects using clay and a range of tactile materials. Forms are wheel thrown, modelled and carved.
My work often references aspects of ritual, ceremony and adornment. This ties the act of making and viewing objects in a very direct way and by introducing a suggestion of function or action an audience can be invited to engage on a deeper sensory level. Forms are knowingly ambiguous in nature to allow for an open reading so viewers can then bring their own experiences to the work.
I think with materials and my ideas are generated through the making process. Because of this my work is never pre-determined. I may take as a starting point an unresolved question from a previous body of work or an intriguing test piece, but there is always a developing dialogue between the making and material. I predominately use ceramics but I also include a range of other materials as they offer, visually and physically, new ideas, questions and readings.
In recent years my work has developed alongside residencies and research projects. This allows me to create new bodies of work with the use of specific facilities, object collections and environments.
What are your inspirations?
I’m interested in people’s relationships with objects and how we read them as they knit together with our own personal experiences and narratives.
Inspiration can come from museum collections, found objects and everyday encounters but also by observing how people directly engage with and relate to objects.
Studying at Camberwell College meant I was lucky enough to meet with many inspirational tutors including; Richard Slee, John Forde, Annie Turner and Robert Cooper. This period was really important as I began to explore the different directions my career could take. I still think back to some of the conversations now as they continue to hold relevance.
What is your favourite part of the making process?
With ceramics I enjoy the change of pace as I move between each stage of the making process. Wheel thrown elements have the immediacy of a drawing, the slightest alteration of the hand can dramatically alter a form, whereas modelling and carving are slower processes, decisions can be made and altered over a longer period of time. I think these contrasts keep you mindful to the qualities of materials, which in turn keeps the work fresh.
I also enjoy working with a combination of materials as I become more aware of the traits of one in contrast to the other. I feel this also stops me from becoming blinded with the familiarity of materials and processes as I am continually reminded of their differences.
What are you working on right now?
This month sees the opening of a three phase exhibition project called ‘Hoard’ at York Art Gallery. It’s a solo exhibition which showcases the development of a research project I began last year at the Yorkshire Museum and Guldagergaard, the International Ceramics Research centre in Denmark. The project focuses on prehistorical artefacts and how objects are read through relational groupings.
Phase one of the exhibition has just opened and comprises of compositional groupings of over 60 elements which will gradually be assembled into different object forms over the course of the show. Visitors are also invited to create their own versions of these artefacts in the gallery space to add to an ever growing public hoard of offerings.
I’m excited to begin working on the initial stages of research and development for two new solo shows. The first opens in Manchester Art Gallery in February 2018 and in 2019 I’ll take part in series two of ‘The Language of Clay’, a national touring exhibition, with the curator Ceri Jones.