Georgie Gardiner | A 'second coming' with clay

Georgie Gardiner


"It’s funny - I was hopeless at clay in my senior school but as soon as I discovered it at college it was different. I knew then that this was what I wanted to do forever. "

"This is my ‘second coming’ with clay.

My first was a passionate affair from the age of 17 till my mid 30’s, that took me from a half day a week lesson - as part of a diploma course - to a degree at Harrow and finally running my own studio in London for a decade, before feeling ‘burnt out’ and embracing motherhood instead. Being an all or nothing kind of person, I left clay behind completely whilst fully immersing myself with being a mum and all that entailed.

It’s funny - I was hopeless at clay in my senior school but as soon as I discovered it at college it was different. I knew then that this was what I wanted to do forever.

Lucie Rie at the time was my biggest influence - the fact that she was still potting into her late eighties was truly inspiring. That was what I wanted to do too! 

Georgie Gardiner | Yellow & White Bowl
"My pots are quite traditional in shape - they are the forms I find most pleasing. "

The wheel was thrilling - I still find that even today - I am amazed that from a lump of clay comes form - beauty - full bellies - elegant necks - small feet.

My pots are quite traditional in shape - they are the forms I find most pleasing. I have always been drawn to dry or semi-dry surfaces. Robin Welch was another great influence to me in my early years.

My degree at Harrow was a truly wonderful experience. Always one of the first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave at night, I loved every minute of it. 

From the inspiring tutors such as Kyra Cane and Mo Jupp to amazing visiting lecturers including Grayson Perry, Kate Malone, Joanna Constantinidis and Edmund de Waal.

We were so privileged with the amount of people that came in to talk about their work - and we soaked it all up - like little sponges. 

Georgie Gardiner |  Purple & White Vessel
"I think having a break from clay for a few years has made me appreciate it even more."

The number of diverse objects which can be made from the same material, is a quality of clay that never ceases to amaze me. There is always more to learn however much you do. It’s that endless fascination to overcome problems, finding solutions to new ones and striving for perfection (which of course does not exist!)

After graduating, I shared a studio at The Chocolate Factory in North London, which was full of artists working in a variety of media- it was the next best thing to college. Under my maiden name Dunkley, I became known for making ceramic lighting - hand built bases with thrown shades.

Before I stopped making I had just begun to experiment with vessels and bowls so this seemed the obvious place for me to start again when I returned to making.

It was a struggle at first and frustrating, but eventually I began to make pieces that had elements that I liked. It took several years of development before I showed these to anyone.

I used paper resist to decorate my lamp bases and knew I wanted to keep exploring this technique. I love the quality it gives - clean crisp lines with a slightly raised texture. As it is applied in the leather hard stage the decoration becomes one with the body of the piece. Through trial and error (lots of error!) I’ve developed my technique - knowing what shapes to cut from paper for each form as it alters it’s direction when wrapped around a three-dimensional piece. I am always looking to create a visual balance between form and decoration.
Georgie Gardiner | Green & White Bowl

I think having a break from clay for a few years has made me appreciate it even more. I look forward to Monday mornings - when the kids are happy to be back at school and I can take the short walk out to my garden studio (another dream come true).

Dame Lucie Rie, it’ll be a while before I’ve been making as long as you but I’m going to give it my best shot. " Georgie Gardiner 2018



Georgie Gardiner | Dark Turquoise & White Vessel

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