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 andÂ 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, Â 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 studiedÂ Ceramics at Bath Spa school of Art and Design and fell in love with the many process ofÂ surface design and transfer applications. Drawing has always been something which I haveÂ enjoyed and it was really encouraged by our tutors. My current range of ceramics evolvedÂ naturally after university when I found myself with a studio and the reality of needing toÂ create with limited facilities (and which could pay the rent) as well as being inspiring bothÂ 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 lifeÂ and giving it a permanence through the object of ceramics. Humour is a prevalent aspect ofÂ my work and I use this to break down the formality associated with the material. I like peopleÂ to pick my work up and interact with it. Imagery and text helps this process and if you canÂ get people to laugh I feel like Iâ€™m half way there. My â€˜I licked all your biscuitsâ€™ fly coaster isÂ 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.Â Thereâ€™s such an eclectic mix of everything going on here all the time! Itâ€™s brilliant. Itâ€™s givenÂ me more confidence in my work and people seem to understand my humour so itâ€™sÂ encouraged me to make more!!
Which designers/artists do you admire?
I have an almighty appreciation of Grayson Perry, for his technical and aestheticÂ approach to surface decoration. His pots are an endless wonder of mark making andÂ I love his collaged use of slips and glazes and drawing directly onto the surface ofÂ the clay and the juxtapositions of text and illustration with photographic imagery. YetÂ on the other hand I really admire the purity and minimalism of Potter Edmund deÂ Waalâ€™s work. His handling of porcelain and the colour palettes he achieves in hisÂ glazes. I love the narrative his collections of vessels evoke and his interventions inÂ specific institutional contexts such as the V&A. I also have a bit of a crush onÂ illustrator and artist Oliver Jeffers at the moment…
Tell us your favourite jokeâ€¦
Why did the mushroom go to the party?
Because he was a funghi.
(no my Dad didnâ€™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 (andÂ yummy provisions) and then coming home to more food and wine.
Check out the Alice Shields artist page on Seed.