The ceramics work of Alice Shields is inherently British, she playfully studies the mundane aspects of everyday life and gives it a permanence through the object of ceramics.
After graduating from Bath Spa University with a BA (Hon) in Ceramic Design, Alice Shields set up a small studio in Bath where she designs and makes her whimsical range of ceramics by hand. Alice Shields is passionate about the conservational issues of our native bees, butterflies and garden birds her ceramics blend her fascination with British flora and fauna with a light-hearted sense of humour.
All the illustrations are hand drawn using a variety of pens, pencils and watercolours before being applied to earthenware, glazed clay.
Alice Shelds, can you tell me a bit more about yourself and why you began designing?
Hello *waves. My name is Alice. I am a ceramicist living and working In Bristol. I studied Ceramics at Bath Spa school of Art and Design and fell in love with the many process of surface design and transfer applications. Drawing has always been something which I have enjoyed and it was really encouraged by our tutors. My current range of ceramics evolved naturally after university when I found myself with a studio and the reality of needing to create with limited facilities (and which could pay the rent) as well as being inspiring both personally and to the public.
How would you describe your work?
I think my work is inherently British. I enjoy studying the mundane aspects of everyday life and giving it a permanence through the object of ceramics. Humour is a prevalent aspect of my work and I use this to break down the formality associated with the material. I like people to pick my work up and interact with it. Imagery and text helps this process and if you can get people to laugh I feel like I’m half way there. My ‘I licked all your biscuits’ fly coaster is probably the best example of this!
Where are you based and does this inspire your work?
I have recently relocated to Bristol and I definitely think it has inspired my creative process. There’s such an eclectic mix of everything going on here all the time! It’s brilliant. It’s given me more confidence in my work and people seem to understand my humour so it’s encouraged me to make more!!
Which designers/artists do you admire?
I have an almighty appreciation of Grayson Perry, for his technical and aesthetic approach to surface decoration. His pots are an endless wonder of mark making and I love his collaged use of slips and glazes and drawing directly onto the surface of the clay and the juxtapositions of text and illustration with photographic imagery. Yet on the other hand I really admire the purity and minimalism of Potter Edmund de Waal’s work. His handling of porcelain and the colour palettes he achieves in his glazes. I love the narrative his collections of vessels evoke and his interventions in specific institutional contexts such as the V&A. I also have a bit of a crush on illustrator and artist Oliver Jeffers at the moment…
Tell us your favourite joke…
Why did the mushroom go to the party?
Because he was a funghi.
(no my Dad didn’t tell me that one)
What’s your favourite day out?
Being outdoors with friends, climbing hills. Going for a big old fat walk with a flask of tea (and yummy provisions) and then coming home to more food and wine.
Check out the Alice Shields artist page on Seed.