Sussex Weft – a collection in the making

Ceramics by Elaine Sheppard Bolt for The New Craftsmen at Collect 2023
Ceramics by Elaine Sheppard Bolt for The New Craftsmen at Collect 2023

I am never happier than when working on a project. It gives me a direction, inspiration and focus. I love to delve into a new world and find ways to translate it into my making.

In 2019 I found inspiration in a companion craft, working with weaver Imogen Bright Moon and developing pieces inspired by her colours and processes. Now in 2023 I returned to the threads of this project and delved deeper into the idea.

In talking and spending time with Imogen and her materials, I worked on creating a collection reflecting the colours of her hand-spun undyed wood – the muted tones of cream, beige and dark flecked brown.

The forms and textures of the vessels I made were similarly inspired by shapes and textures found in the weaving process – the tapered forms of yarn cones and the repeated lines drawn in the warp and weft of woven fabric were key influences.

My signature use of mixed media in my work was also brought into play in the development of ideas. Carefully placed additions – in this case tendrils of wisteria, were used to draw meandering, thread-like lines in the air above the ceramic pieces.

The collection as a whole brings elements together that are rooted in the developement of an idea. Although each piece is unique, they sit together as a family of works inspired by the same source.

Woven work by Imogen Bright Moon

The final works included stoneware and porcelain pieces, both thrown and hand-built. Processes included: oxides mixed into the clay body before throwing, lines carved in the surface, oxides painted in line directly on the fired clay, and oxide-coloured slips painted under a speckled satin glaze.. After their last firing, I added wisteria tendrils to a few of the pieces as a final flourish.

A selection of pieces from this collection can be seen at this year’s Collect art fair, run by the Crafts Council., where I am represented by The New Craftsmen gallery.

Collect is the leading international fair for contemporary craft and design and will be held at Somerset House in London from 1 – 5 March
After the show there will be a virtual showcase on

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