Rebecca Wilson makes beautiful ceramic objects from her studio in Leith, Edinburgh. Rebecca is one of six makers whose work will be showcased by Craft Scotland at SOFA Chicago 2012.
In summer 2012, we visited Rebecca in her studio, and are delighted to now bring you photographs from the visit along with five meet-the-maker questions.
What do you make?
My ceramics turn everyday items into a collage of pleasurable extravagance. I construct new objects by casting and re-assembling discarded knickknacks, most commonly found in charity shops and car boot sales, in luxurious porcelain and bone china. Through the recreation of discarded objects in precious materials I aim to question our relationships with the objects around us and examine the sliding scale of values that we bestow upon them.
How do you make your pieces?
I mainly use slip-casting techniques to produce high-quality items that defy the throwaway nature of their subject matter, but I often bring transient materials into the making process, and interrupt the formality of traditional techniques. In the past this has involved casting objects in jelly, chocolate and ice-cream, or infusing porous surfaces with salts to grow organic and ever changing crystalline surfaces. I am currently developing ways of using cake decorating and sugar-craft tools to ‘ice’ cast ceramic objects with porcelain slip, using modified slip mixtures to create deliciously sugary textures, surfaces and colours. Another current line of enquiry is the integration of light sources into large scale ceramic assemblages and installations.
What inspires your work?
My work usually begins with a found object (usually ceramic), often one that has been discarded, broken or forgotten. I investigate the system of values we impose upon our objects; the spectrum of reasons why we deem an object of worth or worthless. I them re-purpose these forgotten objects to breathe a new life into them and make them covetable again.
Because I work with old objects I am naturally influenced by retro and vintage aesthetics. I take ceramics as both my chosen material and subject matter. The forms and decoration I use is inspired by a wide range of ceramic aesthetics, from flouncy porcelain figurines and heavily decorated rococo and baroque wares to the simple and humble forms of utilitarian jelly moulds, tea cups and other kitchenware.
What is unique about your craft?
I often introduce incongruous materials and processes into my work. In the past this has involved casting pieces in jelly, ice cream or sugar paste, or growing saline crystalline surfaces on porous ceramic forms. I currently use baking and sugar craft tools not normally associated with ceramics to decorate cast forms with piped and 'iced' details. I am also looking at a variety of ways to use different light sources to exploit the translucent qualities of porcelain and bone china.
What’s exciting about selling your work at SOFA?
Reaching an international audience, and being able to exhibit large scale ambitious works. It is always a good career boost when you are able to bring work to a different and new audience. SOFA's focus on more ambitious and sculptural craft items is a particular draw for me.
Find out more about Rebecca Wilson Ceramics.
Watch a film of Rebecca at work in her studio from the Craft Scotland COLLECT 2011 collection.
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