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A designer's statement?

Cat daydreams about colouring in
Little Cat daydreams about colouring in

With little girls, it’s always the same artistic route from crayons and chalk to felt-tipped pens; the pens’ neat and satisfying newness enabling bright and stripy works of art. Too soon followed by desperate licking at their felty ends to extract the final dregs of colour until the nibs splay, exhausted and dry – then discarded.

As time moves on, other media present themselves. Cat has explored a variety with success – applying herself to sewing, furniture design and manufacture, stained glass window making, wood turning and parquetry, archaeological replica making, hairdressing and knitting, ceramics and web design.

After several years of experimenting with ceramics, Cat has settled down with porcelain. She enjoyed the excitement of making porcelain pottery in her old studio at the Jubilee Stores in Newport. Her pots have a deliberately manufactured feel and are decorated primarily with uniformly applied textures and designs – spikes and grooves, hammering and stipples.

Once a pot has been completed she is eager to strum its texture and to listen to the sounds that it makes. She is not alone – many people’s first contact with a pot is to ping its rim to listen to its sound.

Cat is a qualified Industrial Designer (having gained an HND in the subject – with distinction).

the workshop
Cat in the Jubilee pottery

Art College ID
Art College ID

Apart from a brief dabble at school and on a foundation course at Art College, Cat has worked mostly in earthenware clay at the Isle of Wight College. At the college, she particularly enjoyed using white earthenware as it has such a plastic quality and, as with all earthenware, the glazed results are controllable and even.

On discovery of the Jubilee Pottery, she initially worked in their favoured stoneware. She was able to get some great results yet was unable to reconcile herself with the haphazard nature of stoneware glazes and was often disappointed and frustrated with the finished work.

She now work exclusively in porcelain which has echoes of the white earthenware although it is a far more resilient material.

The porcelain workshop is run by potter Sue Paraskeva. Under her guidance Cat found her ideal ceramic material in porcelain. It has the plasticity of white earthenware, the strength of stoneware and the controllable glazing that she loves.

big mugs
Big mugs

Cat has always made good quality domestic ware - mugs, bowls and beakers. However, regardless of how well made and designed the crockery is, it does not appear to be as valued as larger, less functional, 'artistic' pieces. This is a conflict that Sue and Cat have often discussed. As an industrial designer, Cat finds it hard to make a pot without a purpose. Sue, on the other hand, feels that if a pot is empty, perhaps that is its purpose. What do you think?

making a bowl
Cat throws a pot

funky fabric 'Hourglass'
Funky fabric - 'Hourglass'

During Cat's time at the Jubilee Pottery, she made pots which repeat her idiosyncratic design themes - 1950's 'atom' ware, Lucienne Day fabrics, science fiction hardware, snowflakes - and has delighted in the clarity with which these elements are presented using porcelain clay.

For further Cat trivia, visit the Cat Page...