Young Masters Ceramic Artists at the V&A

Amy Jayne Hughes and Matt Smith, Kevin Callaghan – current and forthcoming exhibitions and residencies at the V&A

Ceramics Resident: Amy Jayne Hughes

April – October 2015


Ceramic Resident: Amy Jayne Hughes

Supported by Brakes
In collaboration with 1882 Ltd.

Originally from West Yorkshire, Amy lives and works in London. She shares a studio with 10 of her former classmates from the Royal College of Art, who collectively transformed a railway arch in East London into a multi-disciplinary art & design studio, known as Manifold.

Amy has worked and exhibited internationally, including a spell as Artist in Residence at Konstfack School, Stockholm, Sweden. She was nominated to represent the UK in ‘New Talent’ at the European Ceramic Context 2014 as well as being selected for the inaugural Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize 2014 for artists who show an exceptional command of ceramics, alongside an awareness of the heritage of ceramic craft.

Amy will be the first Ceramics and Industry Resident at the Museum in collaboration with 1882 Ltd. Based in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent, 1882 Ltd was formed in 2011 by fifth generation Emily Johnson and her father, Christopher continuing the Johnson Brothers’ 134 year legacy in the Potteries, the company name evoking the deep routes of the family heritage. 1882’s mission is to champion and take inventively designed ceramic products to wider audiences whilst employing the manufacturing heritage of North Staffordshire and promoting the British ceramic industry.

My practice

Nouveau Bleu Platters: Thumb pressed porcelain paper clay, high fired, splash glazed face with digital decals and 22 carat gold lustre to finish, 33 x 22cm approx, 2012.

Nouveau Bleu Platters: Thumb pressed porcelain paper clay, high fired, splash glazed face with digital decals and 22 carat gold lustre to finish, 33 x 22cm approx, 2012.

Working as Ceramic Artist I specialise in hand building, enjoying working with form and texture and studying its relation to decoration. Since graduating from the RCA my practice is both fuelled by and symbolic of an important time in Ceramic history, my pieces speak of the highly prestigious Porcelain wares produced at the Royal Sevres Factory in the late 17th and 18th Centuries. Primarily working in clay, I have a romance with my medium, I adore its natural qualities, its memory capabilities, the possibilities it allows.

Fuelling my fascination with the overtly decadent, extravagant and the exuberant, the Objets d’art produced there were so refined and tightly controlled they carried no visible suggestion of their material identity and so lavishly decorated that each detail was left in competition on the surface, striving to attract attention. I enjoy the grandeur, opulence, sense of occasion and status that surrounded the wares in their ‘technical perfection’ but feel the need to comment on their complete absurd and eccentricity, perhaps really only elaborate for their own sakes.

My work aims to bridge the gap between the past and the present, finding a new home in contemporary culture for such objects, a ‘modern decadence’. In contrast, through fresh interpretation, the clay body and its material qualities are both elevated and celebrated, with a truth to materials. Worked in a dynamic and lively expression, textured and stripped back to highlight natural surface richness that has no need for further embellishment, each piece establishes a new dialogue between form and decoration, surface treatments becoming part of the structure. My work references and pays homage to the originals, hinting at the decadent and the extraordinary and giving them a new lease of life.

I am also a keen illustrator; working in an unconventional observational style combined with painterly washes and colour splashes. My drawings seek to animate their original subjects, often used on my ceramic wares to commemorate. I like to explore and establish new dialogues between the two and three dimensional in my practice.

My residency

Black Lidded pair from Tresor Decouvert Series, hand built vases, coiled and press moulded. Transparent glaze panelling and 22 carat gold lustre to finish. 45 x 25cm approx, 2014.

Black Vases, Tresor Decouvert Series: hand built vases, coiled and press moulded. Transparent glaze panelling and 22 carat gold lustre to finish. 45 x 25cm approx, 2014.

Working with and responding to the Museum’s vast collections, I am continually interested in French Porcelain, the considered technical perfection of pieces, their prestige, wealth and status held within society, nationally and internationally at the time and till the present day. Largely it is the vase that holds my captivation. During my residency I wish to explore how industry can be used to create individual items within small production runs, at a more commercial price point, designed with integrity with a prior knowledge of materials and awareness of history within the field. I would also like to use the opportunity to contribute to the practice of making Ceramics on the whole, raising its profile and supporting British Manufacturing. In a very digital age, I am interested in working to combine traditional hand building techniques with industrial production new and old, designing with a prior knowledge and understanding of material and referencing Ceramic history. With a view to inspiring others to begin making.

The opportunity to spend time based within a museum that houses the greatest and most comprehensive collection of ceramics in the world is a huge opportunity and privilege.


Open Studio

Visit Amy in her studio on Level 6 to find out more about her residency at the Museum, her creative practice and her work in progress.

Free, Drop-in
22 April
2, 20, & 30 May
10 & 20 June
11 & 22 July
19 & 23 September

V&A Residency Programme

Ceramics Resident : Matt Smith Residency dates announced

We are delighted to announce that Matt Smith has been awarded the Artist in Residence position at the V&A in their Ceramics Galleries.  Running from October 2015 until the end of March 2016 he will be working in the galleries at the museum and making new work based on the collections.

“Ingeniously producing objects that are both reassuringly familiar and strangely new, vibrant and multifaceted, Matt Smith’s works are, in the end, irreverent reinterpretations of the ideas of kitsch – clichés that are first emptied, then filled again with ever more loaded meaning.
Oliver Winchester, Curator, Victoria and Albert Museum

V&A_2012Ceramics: Kevin Callaghan

Artists Unknown Fields Division, in collaboration with Kevin Callaghan, traced the global supply chain of rare earth elements – the 17 most sought after minerals in the world, used in high-end electronics and green technologies – to their source at a toxic lake in Inner Mongolia. Three vases made from the radioactive lake mud, along with a film by photographer Toby Smith, will be on display at London V&A’s What is Luxury? exhibition from the 25 of April.

Watch an exclusive preview of the film here

via: V&A


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