Kate Malone, one of the UK’s leading studio potter and ceramic artists, visited Bradford Grammar School today to speak to all pupils about Art, Design and the importance of creativity in school. She also spent the day working with a group of Year 10 pupils on a beautiful ceramic tile installation, that will later become public art, on display, within BGS.
Kate (born in 1959 in London) is known for her large sculptural vessels and rich, bright glazes. She is also a judge, along with Keith Brymer Jones, on BBC2’s ‘The Great Pottery Throw Down’ presented by Sara Cox. Kate first became interested in ceramics at her secondary School. She commented:
“It was a progressive forward-thinking school on the outskirts of Bristol and as part of the timetable, from the age of 12, we all did some woodwork, metal work, clay, sewing and cooking. Now I realise just how lucky I was to cover all these basic materials – to be confident that I could make and create things.
From an early age I had a great sense of achievement through pottery and that sense of achievement gave me invaluable confidence. Teenage years can be a difficult time so if young people can feel a sense of achievement, and the magic you can get from something like ceramics, I think it feeds into the individual and on a wider scale, the whole school curriculum.”
Haris Sultan, age 14 from Pudsey, thoroughly enjoyed the workshop with Kate. He said “It’s been great, it’s very different to doing other kinds of Art and I like the way it makes my hands feel with the clay. I’m excited to see how the final installation will look when we finish all the tiles and put them together. Kate is really interesting and passionate about what she does – I’ve really enjoyed it.”
All Kate’s work has an organic form that represents the natural forms of the sea and land, from ceramic fruits and vegetables to giant animal ceramics. She discovered her style early on in life, and it is so distinctive that she no longer signs her work. She is also rare among potters in that she is interested in the chemistry of her raw materials, and does hours of glaze testing.
She has also made a large number of new works for an exhibition inspired by Waddesdon Manor in 2016, including portrait vases of Ferdinand de Rothschild and his sister Alice Charlotte von Rothschild. Yet Kate remains grounded, despite her meteoric career that has included meeting the Queen, displaying work all over the world and working alongside architects to make the facade of the Savile Row building.
Reflecting on her visit to BGS Kate said: “I’ve loved spending time with the pupils, I wish we had another day to create more work. It’s not about making a nation of artists, potters and carpenters, it’s about showing them how to be confident with their bodies, and their hands, using a craft.
You can be creative and think artistically whether you’re a Doctor, a Nurse or Engineer. After talking to pupils about material knowledge, and the confidence it brings, I’m hoping that whoever they become they may want to dig a bit deeper than the basic elements of whatever they decide to do, and do it with confidence.”
Kate’s work is on display in a number of public locations, including a giant ceramic fish in the water at Hackney Marshes and a large pot at Manchester Art Gallery. Malone’s work is also held in numerous public collections, including Arts Council, Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, Crafts Council, The Ashmolean Museum, Musée national de céramique de Sèvres, Victoria and Albert Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the British Council collection.
Visit www.katemaloneceramics.com for further information.
Watch a video of the BGS workshop.
“After talking to pupils about material knowledge, and the confidence it brings, I’m hoping that whoever they become they may want to dig a bit deeper than the basic elements of whatever they decide to do, and do it with confidence.”