Tag Archives: contemporary innovation

Three Contemporary Ceramicists


Zoe Hillyard, Bennett Bean, Mette Maya Gregersen


Zoe’s patchwork ceramics, draw on the Japanese yobitsugi/wabi-sabi concept of the chi inherent in the imperfect moving towards perfection. She also integrates storytelling into her wares by using fabrics that have particular historical narratives. Bennett Bean’s ceramic sculptures use interlocking glazed panels that highlight the depth of field and expand the already charged dialogue between the contrasting shapes and patterns. The landscape of his larger then life compositions with competing elements of complexity, merge together in a harmonious conclusion. Mette Gregerson creates her ceramic forms like she is embalming an Egyptian mummy, while also infusing her ocean wave fascination into her sculptures.

I chose the following three contemporary artists because they all create highly dynamic ceramic art, using innovative and unique approaches to express a striking vibrancy.


Zoe Hillyard, UK

” My work and research activities are inspired by cultural exchange and strongly influenced by ethical concerns.  Travel, teaching and volunteering all influence the nature of my creative practice. I am particularly drawn to remote communities where lives are fundamentally shaped by landscape and climate, and am interested in how fibre and textile skills often play an important part in livelihood activities. The design process, for me, begins with materials – both raw and recycled and Ceramic Patchwork reflects this approach.  It builds on my interest in hand craft processes, construction and form, and in my belief that items should be treasured for the long-term.”



 Zoe Hillyard - fabric patchwork ceramic bottle

 A broken ceramic vase, the fragments covered with textiles and rebuilt by Zoe Hillyard



Abstract patchwork ceramic vase - Zoe Hillyard

Ceramic Patchwork abstract  vase – Zoe Hillyard



Ceramic-Patchwork---digital-print fabric Zoe Hillyard

Zoe Hillyard  digital print fabric vase



Ceramic-Patchwork---digital print- Zoe Hillyard

Vase with patchwork in digital print fabric – Zoe Hillyard




Ceramic-Patchwork---digital-print fabric Zoe Hillyard

Digital print fabric patchwork ceramic vessel – Zoe Hillyard. The missing fragment has been deliberately left out from the piece.




Ceramic-Patchwork-Zoe Hillyard --made-in-the-middle-2012

 Ceramic Patchwork display – Zoe Hillyard

Made in the middle


 Made in the Middle is Craftspace’s tri annual open exhibition that has charted over two decades of professional contemporary craft practice in the Midlands, UK



Ceramic-Patchwork---made-in-the-middle-2012 zoe hillyard

Zoe Hillyard Ceramic Patchwork bottles

Made in the middle 2012




Lace fabric Zoe Hillyard Ceramic Patchwork---new-brewery-arts-2013--

Ceramic patchwork with lace inspired fabric – Zoe Hillyard

New Brewery Arts -2013

The body of work produced for the exhibition at New Brewery Arts in Cirencester was created in response to yobitsugi, the Japanese approach to mending broken ceremonial ceramics using completely different fragments to patch missing parts




Bottle created with Ceramic Patchwork-Zoe Hillyard --New-Brewery-arts-2013

Ceramic Patchwork Bottle -Zoe Hillyard

 Lizzie Mary Collection

New Brewery Arts -2013

 For the Lizzie Mary Collection,  Zoe created a blue and white digitally printed textile design using scanned imagery of lace. The fragments spanned four generations of her family. Some she made herself using her bobbin lace making skills she learnt as a teenager, the rest are pieces that her great-grandmother wore as detachable details on her Victorian dresses.

 Ceramic-Patchwork---british-museum---core - Zoe Hillyard- UK

The textiles design used for this patchwork vase were  interpreted from Imari  plates.

  The Imari-ware colour stories make striking colour statements.(see plate below)

Commission British Museum – core




Zoe Hillyard

This piece reworks imagery from three stunning Chinese plates which date from the Xangxi reign within the Qiang dynasty (1622-1722).



Japanese Oriental-plate Imari-ware

Imari plate



Zoe Hillyard---Vintage Fabric, round green retro bowl

Zoe Hillyard—Olive and pink vintage fabric retro bowl




Zoe Hillyard, In the Red Drawing Room,-Unravelling-Uppark,-Photography by Jim Stephenson

Vase display ‘In the Red Drawing Room’ –  Zoe Hillyard

Unravelling Uppark

Photo by Jim Stephenson



Unravelling Uppark- Zoe Hillyard vase Photo by Jim Stephenson

Zoe Hillyard vase

Photo by Jim Stephenson




Zoe Hillyard vases Broken ceramic vases covered with textiles and-stitched-together

Patchwork ceramic bottle and vase using vintage fabrics  – Zoe Hillyard





Queen-Elizabeth-1st-tall-vase_19cmhigh_ovoid shape-Zoe-Hillyard

 This  vase is based on a beautifully detailed 1592 etching of Queen Elizabeth 1st which is featured in the exhibition.  Graphic elements of landscape, fashion, ceremony and symbolism combine within these gentle tonal ceramic patchwork pieces – Zoe Hillyard

Shakespeare: Staging the World at the British Museum  2012




Zoe Hillyard New Brewery Arts--patchwork-ceramics---Cirencester

Fabric patchwork ceramics vessels – Zoe Hillyard

New Brewery Arts, Cirencester, UK

Zoe Hillyard Website here



 Bennet Bean, USA


” I don’t make any distinctions between making things, cooking, gardening, and building houses.  Elements from the garden appear in paintings and the surface obsession of the pots appears in the house as consciousness of each decision about material and finish.  Each cross-pollinates.  Curiosity about how to express identity results in having my DNA done.  That image then surfaces in collages and then again in the rugs I create.  The paintings and the pots have both contributed their imagery to the rugs.  It’s a dance where ideas are applied in different ways depending on the medium.  “

An extract from a Bennett Bean essay on “Finding a place in the 21st Century”

“From the variety of choices available, I found the idea of the vessel the most personally interesting. It is the paradigm of historical ceramics and not appropriated from the art world. My exploration followed the same path as the painters. In keeping with the analytical approach of the modernist painters, the two characteristics of the vessel that I have chosen as my subject are decorative surface outside and space inside, with the concomitant unfolding of the relationship between these two elements. It is by mining these essential concepts that my work finds consistency and coherence. Each of us chooses and builds upon the objects of our historical antecedents. The majority of the clay work in the past fifty years has been driven by obsession with technique – moving from Raku to salt to wood fire in a slow evolution of identity through methods. It was my goal to avoid a ceramic identity defined by technique. Technique is of course there because we are object makers but, in my work, technique is always in the service of the idea.”



Master-#1114--Teapot Bennett Bean

Bennett Bean Teapot  Master #1114 




Museum of Arts and Design Collection-Bennett Bean

Bennett Bean

Museum of Arts and Design Collection





The New Wing Series---Master-#1123--The Bay

Bennett Bean —Master-#1123 — The Bay

The New Wing Series



Vase with bulbous bottom – Bennett Bean




Master-#1657,-Pair-on-Base Bennett Bean - Pit-fired, painted and gilded earthenware


Bennett Bean – Pair on Base

Pit-fired, painted and gilded earthenware on pedestal – view 1

16.5”w x 13.5”h x 9.5”d




Bennett Bean –  Pair on Base

Pit-fired, painted and gilded earthenware on pedestal – view 2




Master-#1112--Teapot-Bennett Bean

Abstract Teapot Master-#1112— Bennett Bean


Contemporary ceramic sculpture Triple on Base - Bennett Bean

‘ Triple on Base ‘ – Bennett Bean

 Ceramic Vessel, pit-fired, gilded, painted earthenware – Bennett Bean





Bennett Bean —Master-#1125— ‘The Flower’

The New Wing Series



Bennett Bean ceramic sculpture

Bennett Bean




Paired Teapots from The Marriage Series---Marriage for Money-26x7

‘Marriage for Money’   by Bennett Bean

Paired Teapots from The Marriage Series—-26″ x 7″




Paired Teapots from-The Marriage Series---Shotgun Wedding-Bennett Bean

‘Shotgun Wedding’ -Bennett Bean

Paired Teapots from-The Marriage Series

8.5”h x 25”w x 4”d



Silo pagoda study Bennett Bean

Silo Pagoda study – Bennett Bean

Resurrected from an old silo at Bennet’s Beans studio location.



The New Wing Series---Master-#1122--What is Mondrian Bennett Bean

‘What is Mondrian’ – Bennett Bean

The New Wing Series—Master-#1122


Bennett Bean ceramic artist

  Bennett Bean

Bennett Bean’s website here



Mette Maya Gregersen, Denmark


“After a while working in fragments and burning away, I feel the need to construct pieces. This is an organic process built slowly using strips of clay that are first torn apart, then carefully wrapped around each other and put together

Every action in clay refers back to a mental state. There has to be a connection between thought, hand, and space, where each element investigates the other and creates a channel of communication. If I repeatedly fall into the same black hole then I will investigate that path, how I got there, and how I can get back up again.”

Ceramicist Mette Gregersen is  intrigued by the power of waves and their constant motion. She captures this eternal movement while enhancing the shapes of her sculptures further with the wrapping procedure that gives the impression of an Egyptian embalming , conjuring an ancient mystique.




Back-on-track-1-&-2,-stoneware-paper-clay,-2011 Mette Maya Gregersen

Back on track 2 – Mette Maya Gregersen

Stoneware paper clay, 2011




Backontrack1 Mette Maya Gregersen

Back on track 1  – Mette Maya Gregersen




Ceramicist M.M.Gregersen is clearly facinated by the power of the wave and its constant movement

Ceramicist Mette Maya Gregersen



Ceramic Wave by Mette Maya Gregersen©-Ceramic-Art-London

‘Ceramic Wave’ by Mette Maya Gregersen






Dok 1 Waves  – Mette Maya Gregersen





 Mette meeting Her Majesty the Queen Margrethe at the Art and Craft awards (Kunsthåndværkerprisen)

Copenhagen Town Hall, Denmark




Dobbelt Porselan Bolge-Mette Maya Gregersen

‘Dobbelt Porselan Bolge ‘ – Mette Maya Gregersen




Double Opposites Mette Maya Gregersen

Wave sculpture – ‘Double Opposites ‘ – Mette Maya Gregersen





Ceramic art sculpture Gentle Typhoon1 Mette Maya Gregersen

Gentle Typhoon 1 – Mette Maya Gregersen





contemporary ceramic - Mette Maya Gregersen

Contemporary ceramic – Mette Maya Gregersen




grandcru Mette-Maya-Gregersen

Mette Maya Gregersen – sculptured vase




Mette Maya Gregersen wave

 Mette Maya Gregersen wave




Mette Maya Gregersen studio

Mette Maya Gregersen studio





puppe5 Mette Maya Gregersen

puppe 5  – Mette Maya Gregersen





Mette-Maya-Gregersen ceramic contemporary sculpture

Wave Sculpture – Mette Maya Gregersen




WICKED WAVE Winner of Håndfuglen 2010---Best-One-Off-Work

‘Wicked Wave’ – Mette Maya Gregersen

Winner of Håndfuglen 2010



Mette Maya Gregersen handbuilt vase

 Handbuilt vase  – Mette Maya Gregersen

Mette Maya Ceramics here




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