Alice Garland Ceramics
Welcome to Alice Garland Ceramics. I hope that you enjoy looking at my work.
I grew up in Suffolk and after a foundation course at Norwich School of Arts, I went on to study painting, printing and ceramics at Camberwell College of Arts, London, graduating in 2000 with a BA in Ceramics.
After college I worked for a pottery suppliers as a technician liaising with potters and sculptors. This gave me access to a large workshop, where I was able to work on my own pottery, experimenting and developing new ideas. During this time I worked also with artists in other disciplines, and collaborated with designer Russell Sage for his 2002 London fashion week collection. This featured a dress made from hundreds of hand painted tiles, which I made. I also worked with fashion designers Natascha Stolle and Peter Jensen making jewellery and accessories for their collections. The open access to all the museums in London helped me expand the range of work I did and the textile collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum became particular favourites.
After a few years, I returned to Suffolk, to the quiet of the rural surroundings and the close access to the North Sea. I set up my own workshop just outside Halesworth in the North of the county. I began at this time, also, to work as a gardener. The outdoor work inspired me and I started to learn a lot about plants and gardens. I believe that ceramics and gardening compliment each other perfectly. The contrast between the physicality of gardening and the close contact with nature itself, which allows for private thought, and the privacy of working in my workshop provides a productive tension for my ceramics. It led to a period during which I began to produce many more patterns, which I transferred onto my ceramics.
In 2003/4 I began selling my pieces at various galleries and fairs in Suffolk but was once again lured back to London. This led me to set up another workshop in East London where I became involved in yet more craft fairs and managed to get my work into even more galleries. I carried on gardening in London, but after a couple of years I was drawn away from the city lights and back to rural Suffolk. Since 2008 I have continued to exhibit and sell my work, not only in England, but also abroad. I completed a large order for the Conran shops in Paris, Japan and London in 2011. My work has also been featured in various magazines.
To make my work I use paper porcelain, which I make from using a mixture of raw materials, mainly china clay, potash feldspar, quartz and bentonite. The mix is finished with the addition of some paper fibre. I mix the dry materials with water to a sloppy consistency and pour it onto smooth plaster slabs; once part-dried I can then roll it, using my slab roller, into thin sheets.
The treated paper enables me to roll out the porcelain very thinly without it cracking. It also allows the end result to be much stronger once fired.
I cut out the shapes of my pieces from the sheets of clay and decorate each one individually hand painting my patterns using oxides and underglazes.
I then build my pieces and leave them to fully dry before firing them for the first time.
I glaze each one using a transparent glaze and carefully place them back into my kiln for a second firing taking the temperature to 180 degrees centigrade.
Once cooled down they are shiny and the colours are vibrant from the glaze. Most pieces are finished at this stage but on selected pieces I apply a gold lustre as part of the pattern, which then needs a third firing to a much lower temperature.
Not all my pieces turn out as I would like them to. The porcelain tends to wobble and shrink as it is being fired in the kiln, and sometimes the glaze tends to crackle so I end up losing quite a high percentage of my work. I make several of each piece just in case of a failure.
As well as my current range of pieces I also undertake commissions for commemorative and celebratory occasions as shown here. Please contact me if you have something in mind that you would like to discuss.