Inner Finn Ceramics is exhibiting at 'Unseen' until 29 April
Our Directory Maker of the Week, Inner Finn Ceramics (Julie Fewster), 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?
Making has always been a part of my life. I developed an early love of textiles from my Granny, and have an abiding memory of making my first pot when I was seven. My Mum still has that pot, much to my embarrassment. As I grew up I followed a different path, studying engineering and turning my creativity to designing and making chemical plants for twenty years.
A gift of Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artists Way’ caused me to try new things. I discovered sculpture through short courses in stone carving and metal sculpting. The two remarkable teachers on these courses were so encouraging that I decided to go back to college to study art and design. I thought I wanted to learn to paint and draw, but found myself totally absorbed by, and looking forward to the day a week in the ceramics studio. A part time course became full time, and during my Art Foundation year my Ceramics tutor encouraged me to return to university and study Applied Arts. I am eternally grateful to him. Studying at Glyndwr University, I had the opportunity to go to Finland on Erasmus Exchange. During the five months in Finland I learned to slip cast; it was a bit of an epiphany for me. Everything came together, the technical engineering skills, the sculpture techniques, design and of course clay. I suddenly knew that this was it and I committed myself fully to me creative dreams.
Could you please tell us a bit about your work?
I enjoy walking the line between sculpture and function, sometimes combining the two, in a desire to create objects that want to be touched, loved, and used. I make uniquely decorated, tactile, slip cast objects. Working mainly with porcelain, fired in oxidation to 1260o C, I offer complimentary ranges of hollow-form sculptural pieces and functional vessels, characterized by expressive mark making and the use of monochrome colour palettes.
My work explores the tension of opposites. I’m particularly intrigued by the interplay between control and chance, between soft form and hard materials and between fleeting movement and stillness. I seek to capture quietness and offer a moment of stillness amongst the bustle and constant noise or modern living.
What are your inspirations?
Natural forms, smooth pebbles, the silhouette of a tree, and the soft shape of mounds of snow inspire me. My time in Finland cemented a love of the simple, clean lines and the pure forms of Nordic Design, which I try to reflect in my work. I love the iconic shapes of Eero Aarnio and Arne Jacobsen’s chair designs. I also find Barbara Hepworth’s sculptures particularly inspiring.
What is your favourite part of the making process?
I enjoy the whole slip casting process, from design, cutting templates, turning plaster masters, to mould making, production of slip and slip casting. I love to get my hands involved in every step.
I have two favourite parts: making gestural marks in the mould which pleases a rebellious urge to scribble on something pure, and secondly the moment a new form releases from the mould and I get to see it for the first time.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently making sculptural pieces for ‘Into the Sea’, a showcase at MOSTYN, Llandudno this summer. I am also developing new colours and surface finishes and extending my range of functional ware in preparation for upcoming shows, such as The Contemporary Crafts Festival, Earth & Fire International Ceramics Fair and Ceramic Wales.