With a background in graphics, ceramic artist Ali Tomlin has always drawn and designed. She loves the energy of random lines or marks, from a sketch or painting, found on stones or peeling paint. Ali still draws and paints, alongside making pots, and enjoys how a simple line or mark can completely alter a piece and how the same shapes repeated, but with very different decoration, can form a cohesive family.
Ali’s work is a collection of hand-thrown, uncluttered porcelain forms. She throws and turns the pieces to a fine finish, onto which she then applies her marks. Ali works with the chalky surface of the raw porcelain, applying stains, oxides and slips, splashing and sponging away areas, adding inlaid and sgraffito lines, aiming to create imperfect and unpredictable marks. Most decorating is carried out on the wheel to convey a feeling of movement and spontaneity. Ali uses a bold but muted palette on the white clay, giving the hard porcelain the appearance of softness: her work is often described as calm. Most surfaces are left unglazed, which lends a paper-like, tactile quality to the pieces.
Ali works from her garden studio just outside Farnham in Surrey.