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The craft&design Selected Awards 2015 - Specialist Judges

craft&design Selected Awards

Alison Sandeman
Alison Sandeman
Ceramics Category

Alison Sandeman
Practising studio potter Cinnabar Ling Pottery and Senior Tutor in Pottery and Ceramics, West Dean College Chichester

By the age of 16 I had already decided that I was going to make pots. Studying at Art College gave me exactly what I wanted; dedicated and enthusiastic tutors who gave me the opportunity to explore the magic and thrill of working with clay in all its forms.

Work placements with Emmanuel Cooper and Gwyn Hanssen Pigott as part of college training was followed by working full time for Antoine de Vinck and then Michael Leach. Each was a transforming experience and provided a sound base for future work. I set up my own pottery studio with Sue Barker in 1974 and started to teach at West Dean College around the same time. A few years later I wrote the first practical book on working with porcelain, (“Working with Porcelain” pub. Pitman).

The dynamic of running a pottery studio and teaching has provided a balanced and practical approach to my life as a potter with each feeding the other. This is reflected in my work: functional pots and individual ceramics in stoneware, porcelain and Raku which are inspired by English Country Pottery along with the ceramics of the East.

I teach regularly at West Dean on the Short Courses. On the MA and Diploma Programme in the Conservation of Ceramics and Related Materials I tutor the students in clay technologies and making skills. As a centre of creativity and excellence, West Dean provides the environment for students to transform their interests and passions into a deep and learning experience. Working with tutors who are practising artists, crafts people and designers, is the keystone to the quality of tuition provided. We teach at all levels with courses from beginners to advanced.

For the last ten years I have been exploring ancient making and firing techniques, which includes pit firing, and archaeological clay technologies. At the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum I run a Prehistoric pot making and pit firing course. Strong links with Museums, and their Collection Stores are an essential part of this exciting process. I am currently working on a long term research project with The Institute of Archaeology University College London, on ancient making techniques.

In judging the awards I will be firstly looking out for work that gives me an immediate feel that here is something special. An in depth look at qualities and more practical considerations will follow. Use of materials, with sound, ergonomic craftsmanship combined with a good sense of form and design will be vital. The work will need to satisfy contemporary life while also maintaining traditional values and standards.

I look forward to seeing the work and the challenge of making a good decision.

Judge’s Statement

Moyra Stewart Gold Award Ceramics
and craft&design Selected Maker of the Year 2015!

"Strong and accomplished, Moyra Stewart’s hand built vessels have a sense of form which clearly showed me her ability to combine artistic creativity with her craft. These qualities, plus the more personal writing in her artist’s statement, showed me the depth of her work. This is most brilliantly illustrated by the photos taken of her work at Riddle’s Court in Edinburgh which can be seen on her website. I especially liked her awareness of offering three different sizes of her work of each form, thus making them more accessible to her customers.

Moyra has a long term love of rocks. Her initial trip to the Hebrides to research the Lewisian Gneiss rock formations are the inspiration behind these latest forms. Moyra’s informative and descriptive writing on the slips and glazes that she uses for the Naked Raku process, gave me a real sense of being involved. The research, experimentation and the making she feels are all integral to each other. It is a joy to see a ceramist combine all three with such clarity; a true alchemical blend of a potter passionate about her work.

Moyra has ambitious and exciting projects planned for the future. I look forward to hearing that they are going ahead as her wish to step up in scale takes a leap forward. May her long standing obsession with rocks continue!"

Katharina Klug Silver Award Ceramics
"Katharina Klug’s work is aimed at contemporary interiors.  Her vessels echo her heroes but they are clearly her own. I liked the statement on her video that says she does not want the pots to be perfect. However, she does aim for perfection with the important aspects of proportions, shape and surface on the pots. Katharina continues in her video to enthuse about porcelain, her decoration techniques, and the knowledge that she will improve year after year. Her decoration, unlike many contemporary designs, has a natural, ancient feel. I was intrigued by the use of the ceramic wax crayons which she makes herself. Her experience and affinity with porcelain clay is clear. I could feel her enthusiasm emitting from the pots.

Plans to introduce a gas kiln will give Katharina a chance to develop new glazes and higher translucency in the porcelain.  Artists that progress make changes. However, she is also revisiting her work; a brave step to go backwards, but I am sure it will bring future benefits. Coupled with continued experimentation, things look good for her future work. I shall be looking out!"

Angela Mellor Silver Award Ceramics
"Angela Mellor’s work is exceptional. She creates delicate vessels with a tension that holds the piece in just the right space. At the same time her well proportioned forms have a softness to them. Her technical experience and relationship with Bone China is self evident in all aspects of her work. I really liked the translucent overlapping layers of paper clay in her new work as illustrated in “Blue Mountains”. There is a definite sense of her moving onto new things.

Angela’s bespoke lighting work provides a sound business approach. I loved the Dendrophyllia Installation: Bone China on Granite. Working on these design projects must bounce back benefits to her more individual ceramic work. I think ‘let’s watch this space’ on the lighting in combination with her pots."

Jill Ford, Alex McCarthy & Pat Southwood, Finalists Ceramics
"The finalists carry an impressive range of qualifications, self publicity, work in education and exhibition appearances, in the UK and other countries. Their dedication to their practice is well illustrated in their artists’ statements, web sites and blogs. I have been very impressed with all the makers’ creativity and technical expertise. I resonated with Alex’s approach to production and his building up a rhythm of work. Jill's “White Cliffs Triptych” and “Water Meets Rocks” I especially liked. They can be viewed on her website. Pat's total commitment to her kiln and using local and recycled materials, strikes a cord with me. Alongside her good links with Japan, her work will continue to develop and I look forward to seeing hers and all the finalists’ latest work.

All the finalists are great ambassadors for the pottery and ceramic world. They will inspire those who want to have a go, develop, attend courses, and maybe go on to teach themselves."

2015 Judges »
Crafts at Blackthorpe Barn

craft&design Best Newcomer Award at BCTF

Congratulations to Charlotte Wilkinson! We'll tell you more about Charlotte and her spectacular glass in our May issue of craft&design Online!

craft&design Highly Commended Newcomer Award at BCTF


We were delighted to present our Highly Commended Newcomer Award to Rouaida Boullier ROUAIDA.COM for her highly original range of jewellery. Find out more in our May issue of craft&design Online!

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