Writer Laura Vida has a keen eye for top artistic trends. Introducing us to four talented potters based in Scotland, here is her list of ‘ones to watch’…
Not one of these talented potters was born in Scotland. Yet the geology, landscape and climate of their adoptive country is manifest in their work.
If you love the West Coast, you’ll probably find it in many of Claire’s pots. She favours earthy, rustic tones and a washed colour palette of soft blues, blacks and greys. Abstract watercolour effects are also created by allowing multiple glazes to run or drip.
Having graduated from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (Canada), Claire was mentored by Gailan Ngan, daughter of Wayne Ngan (the celebrated master potter and sculptor). A long stint in Kolding, Denmark then introduced her to the mid-20th century Scandinavian school with its crisp edges and simple silhouettes. These days Claire works from an old schoolhouse in the East End of Glasgow. Her tableware can be found in Short Long Black and Patricia’s (Glasgow) and in Elliott’s (Edinburgh).
Originally from Asturias, northern Spain, Borja took up potting in 2016 to aid recovery following a severe nerve injury to his hand. Having quickly risen through the ranks of Edinburgh Design School, he has developed a reputation for tableware that is functional yet refined. Borja initially trained as an architect in Madrid, where multidisciplinary research led him to a number of Japanese ceramicists, including Takashi Endo, whose feather-light vessels he particularly admires.
Borja’s other main source of inspiration is the Scottish landscape, which is reflected in his subtly muted tones. These he favours for their soothing quality. Indeed, for him, ceramics should be ‘a way of living and moving in space’. Borja’s next two online collections will launch in August and December 2021. In the meantime, you can sample his tableware in a number of Edinburgh eateries, including Heron (in Leith, from July).
Born in Slovenia, Julija’s background is in Landscape Architecture. Her current work is inspired by Scotland’s coastal features. An ongoing project, ‘Sandscape,’ involves making pots with sand gathered from the Highlands and Islands. She also collects wild clays and other natural materials in order to create her own glazes and decorative finishes.
An upcoming project, ‘Situated Ceramics’ will see her making pots outside in the wilds of Scotland, using only materials found in the area. Julija’s next online shop will launch in late August 2021. For now, you can view her pots at The Red Door Gallery and Lifestory (Edinburgh).
Jonathan is a noted sculptor and gallery consultant. Until recently, he only potted for himself. But the pandemic finally gave him the opportunity to launch ‘Ingot Objects’, a line of functional, timeless pieces for domestic use. His style is intentionally rustic and strongly influenced by the Japanese Mingei or ‘folk art’ tradition and the 19th century anglo-Japanese revival.
Using wild clays and plant ash, Jonathan embraces the variations, impurities and natural pigments inherent in local materials. He is committed to maintaining a sustainable, low-impact practice. Thus he hopes soon to be able to explore Glasgow’s former clay pits, once used in the manufacture of whisky bottles.
To find out more about each potter, visit their websites at the following links: