Young Masters: Focus on Ceramics|Jo Taylor

Jo Taylor, Ensemble III, 2014, porcelain, 28 x 21 x 19 cm

Jo Taylor, Ensemble III, 2014, porcelain, 28 x 21 x 19 cm

Jo Taylor makes ceramic sculpture influenced by historical styles of ornament, combining wheel thrown and handbuilt elements to create distinct and contemporary pieces.  Her inspiration comes from decorative architectural features such as ornate plaster ceilings, elaborate wrought iron, stone facades and carved wood.   Her work is informed by the grand gesture present in large scale relief, the drama of deep shadow, the way in which ornament enhances a space and works alongside function.  Her construction process is organic, there is no specific plan; by joining and adding the work slowly evolves, until a decision is made to stop. 

Jo graduated in 2012 with an MA in 3D Design: Ceramics from Bath Spa University, following a BA in 2005 at the same institution.  Selected exhibitions include: Sculpture in the Garden, Doddington Hall, Lincolnshire, 2014, Tribe Prize – Art Reflecting Culture, Edgar Modern, Bath, 2014, The New Georgians, Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham, 2014, New Designers, London, 2012 and Fresh 2011, British Ceramics Biennial, Stoke-on-Trent, 2011.  She has been shortlisted for the Edgar Modern Tribe Prize, Perrier Jouet Arts Salon Prize and the V&A’s ceramicist in residence, and is an elected member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors



What is it about Young Masters that you are most interested in?

The concept of mixing old & new; to be able to celebrate source material and acknowledge this influence in contemporary art.

Can you explain to us what your work is about?

I am influenced by decorative ornament seen in plaster ceilings, wrought iron & carved wood, which reference movements such as Baroque, Rococo, Art Deco & Art Nouveau. There is drama and movement found in the depth of relief, and the way light & shadow work. I aim to incorporate these notions into my sculptures, building individual pieces to create a unique form. Each piece is made by hand or using a potters wheel.

Which artists are you most inspired by?

Richard Deacon
Barbara Hepworth

Can you tell us something about your background?

I studied BA & MA ceramics at Bath Spa University as a mature student. Prior to that I had worked in finance and the police and didn’t believe that my interest in ceramics could become my career.

What inspired you to become an artist?

I discovered the potters wheel during an evening class at the former Bristol Poly and was hooked, but always treated this passion as a hobby. I eventually reached a point where I couldn’t face being a police officer until I retired; I wanted to pursue ceramics more seriously so I took the “its now or never” decision to apply for the degree course. My work took time to mature from potter to artist and really came to life during the MA; it was only then with the encouragement of my peers and retired head of sculpture, Michael Pennie, that I felt like a proper artist.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?

I play bass guitar so there’s always rock n roll.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

The nominations and shortlists I’ve received in 2014 mean it’s been an outstanding year already.

What are your plans for the future?

Exploring new ideas, working with different spaces, keeping it interesting….


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