Harriet Lawton is a ceramic artist from Manchester, UK.
“My current work innovatively explores a crossing over of the textile and ceramic surface. I explore the use of ceramic waste, highlighting the ornate beauty within discarded china fragments. Each material is handled like the other; ceramic is delicately cut to reveal hidden lace-like qualities and digital prints lose their fabric fluidity as they become 3D objects, alluding to the form of the ceramic fragment.
“Different collections inspire different series within my work, including my Grandparents ceramics and ceramic waste gathered from The Johnsons Tiles Factory. Within ceramic pieces I utilise water-jet cutting to reveal the bold decorative motifs contained within the printed ceramic surface. Traditional motifs such as the willow tree and swallows are removed from their ceramic base, creating new collaged compositions. Textile elements such as flocking also begin to appear, adding a tactile quality to the fragile material which contradicts ceramic’s traditional “Do Not Touch” ethos.
“In my textile work, the china fragment is replaced by digitally-printed fabric which has been manipulated through flocking, foiling and bonding processes before it is finely hand-cut. The qualities of the ceramic surface are emulated on a monumental scale, creating a series of out-sized trompe l’oeil plates. I previously situated an installation of these pieces upon the café wall of The Design Shed Gallery at Manchester School of Art. They appeared staged as if upon a domestic wall, overlooking their smaller scale relations below. Their purpose was subverted, with the work of art appearing to the viewer both on the gallery wall and the table below. “
I’m always interested in artists that mix hard and soft; Harriet works her stitches into the ceramics, putting them back together to create new pieces with a new narrative. The plates become patchworks, brought together and softened by the threads. Despite their obvious hardness they look as though they might be soft to the touch.
One of the interesting things about Harriet is that she studied embroidery before coming to ceramics, and so her start point for her work with the medium is different to some more traditional ceramicists. It’ll be interesting to see where her journey takes her next. For now you can enjoy Harriet’s work at her website.
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