Ceramic Artist

60/ Work In Progress With Freyja Lee

For this edition of ‘Work In Progress’ we have invited ceramic artist and one of the winners of our Home Open Call, Freyja Lee to run us through her debut collection ‘You Led Me Over The Black Earth’. 

We invite you to step into her Cotswolds home studio as she talks us through her process, the collaborative work with the established potter Tilly Young, and the creative impact her practice has had on her through her motherhood journey.

 
 
 
 

My studio sits at the bottom of the garden. It’s a new thing for me to have my own space to make. Before this, it was on the kitchen table amongst the kids' detritus. I work between this small pocket and the studio of the potter Tilly Young in Devon. Tilly makes the ceramics I paint upon.

Our working relationship has developed organically over the last 4 years. When in the throes of new motherhood with my first child, my mother-in-law whisked me away to paint on her sister (Tilly’s) pots. I had no idea it would become such a lifeline for me creatively.

 
 
 
 

Since then we have collaborated, and Tilly is generously passing on her knowledge so that I have since been learning and making my own shapes.

So that is how I work, between my shed at the bottom of the garden in snatched moments while the children sleep, or demand things at my heels, and then weekends away at Tilly’s where I pour out to my heart's content.

 
 
 
 

Motherhood has been the most grounding experience for me as an artist and in turn, also informs my work. 

Before children, I had all the time and choice in the world and it left me paralysed. While constricting my time so much that sometimes I think I will burst- it also and crucially allows me to focus. So that when I do get those moments of time and quiet to make I am able to channel my creativity constructively. This is my lifeline.

 
 
 
 

Pots have become the perfect canvas for my imagination, image, and mark-making. I am in love with their functionality. And in the making, going through their own lifespan from leather hard clay, shaping, and molding. Brushing slip to look like shell or stone, and painting a narrative on them that turns them on a pinhead into something more than just a bowl. And then there is the alchemy of fire and glaze that solidifies them.

 
 
 
 

The way I go about creating the images is a little like collage, I spend a lot of time daydreaming, drawing in my imagination. Collecting images that inspire me, photographing snippets, poems, texture, colour, mood- anything that triggers that feeling of nostalgia that I want to convey in a piece. Then when I sit down to paint I put it together like a collage. I rarely do preliminary drawings, and often the meaning of the tableau reveals itself after.

 
 
 
 

For my collection for Partnership Editions, I have created a body of work that I hope reflects my love of myth and classic sculpture, archeology, and jungian symbolism. Shards of dreams and a sense of nostalgia from another world. 

For this collection I have painted them all in wax onto the leather hard clay, then brushed slip over the spaces in-between to reveal the drawing, it is hugely satisfying and looks a little like woodcut which I love, and also adds a naïve quality. The wax then burns off in the firing.

 
 
 
 

FOLLOW FREYJA LEE:

@xanthesomers



Freyja Lee's Work

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