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Louise Bell Ceramics

multi-layered, totemic objects

Ceramic artist Louise Bell initially studied psychology and worked in further education for 18 years, before doing an MA in Craft at Brighton University and participating in the Craft Council’s Hothouse programme in 2019. Her first career has informed her ceramics practice and led her to explore ways that ceramics can investigate emotional and social issues. She makes project based, hand built sculptures with multi-layered surfaces and multi-layered meanings.

Each of Louise’s projects evolves from the project before it, through thought and the process of making. Louise’s ‘Ancient Toys’ project was inspired by the universal appeal of toys, with her sources dating back as far as 1600 BC. It also evolved from her previous ‘New Fathers’ project that took the form of over–sized jewellery for men modelled on flotation aids and babies’ rattles.

Louise says of the ‘Ancient Toys’ pieces: “I wanted to value iconic toys that have evolved through centuries and across continents and yet have changed so little in shape and purpose. I wanted the objects to look like they had been dug up from the earth but were also precious. The sparkly lithium glaze was perfect on high-fired earthenware clay for this effect.

Out of ‘Ancient Toys’ project next came the ‘Regeneration’ project, which reflected Louise’s feelings of hope for the environment that emerged from the lock-down period during the pandemic. The animals on her pull-along toys became totemic animals carrying symbols of hope. The ‘Endangered Species’ project also has clear links to ‘Ancient Toys’. The endangered animals are depicted by Louise as toys to indicate that representations of the live animal may be all that is left, if human beings do not change their actions.

Louise uses a broad variety of hand-building methods and decorative techniques for each piece depending upon the ideas that she wishes to convey.

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