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  • Kate Haywood, Volta, 2014

One to Watch: Kate Haywood

We speak to hothouse 2017 maker Kate Haywood about cermaics, residencies and  cermony 

Kate is a ceramicist interested in exploring the ways in which poetic structures can function visually, by balancing and manipulating material qualities and employing a ‘Thinking through Making’ approach. Her objects relate to ritual, ceremony and adornment and these references create a heightened physical awareness of the body. Initially this is communicated through an immediate, intuitive, tactile language.

Kate has been selected for Hothouse, the Crafts Council's Talent Development Programme for emerging makers. Find out more about Hothouse

What first got you interested in making? 

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t making. I think I’ve always had a desire to make and experiment with materials.  

Kate Haywood, Fireworks Clay Studios Photo: David Manton

What in particular drew you to ceramics? 

I often think back to the Herbert Read quote ‘pottery is at once the simplest and the most difficult of all arts. It is the simplest because it is the most elemental; it is the most difficult because it is the most abstract.’   It’s partly this contradiction which I am drawn to, like people; it’s never fixed, never one thing or another. Of all the materials I’ve worked with it’s the one I continually come back too. 

Which project are you most proud of so far and why? 

I’m really excited to be working on a collaborative Glass and Jewellery Residency at the National Glass Centre this year with James Maskery. We are making a series of glass and textile ‘Adornment’ pieces which challenge ‘what is accepted as standard practice between jewellery and glass’  These works will be part of a National touring exhibition, starting at the NGC in Sunderland (25th March – 1st October).

What do you hope to get from Hothouse?

I’m at a stage in my career where I could choose to take a number of different paths and I’d like to explore these different areas with the guidance and imput of the Hothouse scheme. I see it as an experimental, trial and error year. I hope to develop my practice in creative ways which I might not have arrived at on my own.

You have said you employ a ‘Thinking Through Making’ approach, can you tell us more about this and why this is important to you and your work? 

At a recent jewellery talk at Collect a question was asked of the panel ‘what comes first’ ‘the idea or material’. I’d find choosing one over the other an impossible task, as for me they are one in the same, 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, as described before, but I also include a range of other materials as they offer, visually and physically, new ideas, questions and readings. 

Kate Haywood, Jetty, 2015, 24x20x5cm

You have made work Guldagergaard Ceramics Research Centre, how has this informed your practice and what did you learn there?

The residency gave me an intense period of study in a culture that is different to my own. I think this type of experience can work as a catalyst in examining your working habits, highlighting why, what and how you make use of your time.  I need periods in which I can experiment without a focused end point but equally it’s important for me to slow my pace and reflect on what I will develop and take forward. Residencies provide me with a good framework to do this. 

Part of this experience is working alongside artists from different backgrounds and cultures, seeing how they work, the conversations you have and the friendships you make. This all informs your thinking on many levels but it’s quite hard to pinpoint specific effects in the short term. I could feel shifts in thinking but they were subtle, no doubt over time, I will see the influence of this. 

The work I made at Guldagergaard posed as many questions as they answered and these will inform the next body of work I make. I am extending this research, into relational groupings of objects, with the Yorkshire Museum. The resulting work will be shown at the York Art Gallery later this year. 

You are interested in exploring ritual and ceremony in your work, what is it about this subject interests you?

I am interested in referencing aspects of ritual, ceremony and adornment in my work as a way of connecting physically with the viewer.  It 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. 
This suggestion of function can also facilitate the re-examination of the familiar. 

You can see more work from Kate and follow her at the Crafts Council Directory