Chloe Dowds Chloë Dowds. Merit Award 2017

Medium: Ceramics


Tea Set Teapot Mugs Espresso Mugs Serving Set Bowls


My first real introduction to clay came in the first year of my BA in Fine Art Ceramics. Looking back, I can see that my 4 year degree was only a tiny taster of what the possibilities of working with clay can be. The learning, discovering and alchemy of ceramics is something that will last my whole lifetime, of this I am certain. I set up my own contemporary tableware business two years ago and have been fortunate to win five awards for this work to date. Wholesaling this work is very time consuming, in particular because I prepare all my clay by hand. The reason I am applying for the Golden Fleece Award is to buy a pugmill (€6167) as well as a Rhode KE-100 electric kiln (€6449). Not only will the pugmill save valuable time and energy in creating my tableware, it will also free up time for me to work on more creative, gallerybased pieces which is what I really want to explore now. Presently, I rent kiln space and this is not ideal for my business. Owning my own kiln will make my practice run much more smoothly.

In 2015 I won a bursary from the Blue Egg Gallery to do an artist residency. Following my application to the Zentrum Für Keramik, Berlin, I have been invited to complete a month long residency at the centre in July 2017. There is a specific project I wish to explore during this time that relates to the psychology behind the forms we make. Following this residency, I intend to return to my studio and create a body of work in order to hold my first solo-show. Winning the Golden Fleece will allow me to develop my strengths in the creative, gallery-focused aspects of my work.

Artist Statement

I create tactile porcelain tableware. Craftsmanship and attention to detail are paramount in my work.

Every element of design has been considered to stimulate and heighten the user's experience of the piece. The work is wheel-thrown and then altered. I add a spiral in the soft clay, then make an indent where the handle will go. This allows for stimulation of the sense of touch and makes the mugs very comfortable to hold. I indent a line into the handles intended as a texture for the thumb to explore. The rims of the mugs are thrown thinly which is crisp and pleasing for the lips. The base of each piece is individually polished leaving the translucent porcelain soft to the touch. The glossy glaze compliments the curves and echoes the use of liquid. I employ a soft, contemporary colour pallet reflecting the subtleties of colour I see within my environment. I mix the glazes by hand to recipes I have created specifically for these pieces.

It is my intention to bring this same focus and attention to detail to a body of work which centres on the exploration of form. I have become increasingly fascinated by the forms different makers choose and how they impact on the viewer. I will be exploring the link running from maker to form to observer during my residency at the Zentrum Für Keramik, Berlin. Essentially, my pieces will revolve around connection and how the intention of the maker is communicated to the viewer through form. I intend to hold my first solo show with this body of work in 2018.