Fay De Winter's new book, 'Make it with Air Dry Clay' comes out next month
Our Directory Maker of the Week, Fay De Winter talks to us about getting into making, what inspires her and what she loves most about her work
Who or what got you into making?
From a very early age, I was encouraged by my family to be creative. We had a ‘making’ box and Blue Peter was one of my favourite shows. I often tried to recreate their craft project ideas at home. At the age of 4, I made a house of clay, which was photographed and published in the local newspaper. Little did I know at the time, that I would become a ceramicist. At the age of 8, I attended an end of year graduate show at Central Saint Martin’s and decided there and then, that I wanted to attend art school and be involved with the creative industry. I actually wrote at that age a list of what I wanted to achieve in the next 10 years and in the future, as a result of the experience. I tried making with clay a few times at secondary school and on my foundation course, but it wasn’t until I was invited to an interview in 2001 for the ceramics design course at Central Saint Martin’s that I fell in love with the material and since then I have been hooked!
Tell us a bit about your work
I love to experiment with clay, exploring different perspectives of nature and traveling around the world, collecting curio to be inspired by. Porcelain, bone china and local clays have been used in my works to create intimate installations and customised relation gifts. I believe objects tell stories of people’s lives, often holding personal and collective meanings of a particular time, place, and event. I am very interested in other cultures, capturing details that help inform my work and conveying these ideas to others, encouraging interaction, opening dialogue and awareness of other environments.
What are your inspirations?
There are so many… I am inspired by the everyday, the people I meet, the work I see, hidden details that are unseen unless looked at closely. If I had to choose a specific artist, I would say Giorgio O’Keefe has played a continuous role within my works, being bold in colour and calming at the same time, beautiful and mysterious in ‘nature’ content. In regards to ceramics, Ai Wei Wei, Richard Slee and Kate Malone are just a few makers that have inspired me throughout my career. I am constantly looking and seeing different perspectives, to inform my own work. As part of my MA studies, I pin pointed different eras that have inspired and influenced me, from ancient Greece, looking at the philosophy of nature, to the renaissance where art and science meet, to the Victorian era, a golden age for production and curiosities from around the world in England. And, today’s modern day interpretations, influenced by society and different cultures.
What is your favourite part of the making process?
My favourite part of the making process is the research, finding objects and then re-interpreting them into pieces that are relevant to today, often having hidden details that tell a story of where the work has originated. It has been said I create works that are a modern day interpretation of bygone times. Experimentation brings me much joy too, discovering new techniques and serendipitous ‘happy accidents’ that can help develop my making process and give the works another area to explore. I enjoy seeing how the public interact with my works, the feelings they invoke and questions that are asked, as a result of where and how the way the pieces are displayed.
What are you working on right now?
Presently, I am exhibiting at Morley Gallery for London Potters 30th annual show, which I have participated in every year since I graduated in 2004. I have also just participated in a talk, ‘the diversity of ceramics’ at Morley gallery for London Potters. I have works in a local gallery in Surrey, Mine gallery, which I continuously stock and show works. And, I have work showing at Atelier 51 in Brighton, presented by Tutton and Young. More shows are in the pipeline, but I like to keep them as a surprise, until the right time comes to reveal them to the public. I also teach at Sutton College and Morley College for four days a week, giving me time to make from Friday to Monday. In January 2017, my new first book ‘Make it with Air Dry Clay’ is due to be released, published by Search Press in the UK and Lark Crafts in the USA. And right at this moment in time, I am in Mexico, gathering ideas to develop for the New Year…very exciting times!