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Nature & foraged materials in contemporary ceramics

Many makers cite the great outdoors as their main source of inspiration, and these #MADEmakers go so far as to create ceramics using foraged materials. Repurposing these natural materials offers a unique, handcrafted beauty – bringing nature into the home.

Three of September’s #MADEmakers exhibitors share their processes as they experiment with beautiful effects and finishes.

These makers show how materials foraged straight from their surroundings – and even materials destined for landfill – can be refined into exquisite collectables.


Tip Studio


tip studio ceramics

My work centres around the reuse of waste or foraged materials and objects. I work predominantly in Jesmonite. This is a composite material comprising stone/mineral and an eco-resin, which behaves a bit like concrete but has a far more refined quality. This is cast in handmade moulds, which in turn are taken from shapes I make which usually originate from a waste or found object, adapted to form a master shape. Into the Jesmonite I add foraged or waste materials (such as mussel shells from a local restaurant, broken terracotta pots from a local florist, sand, stone and chalk from the local area).

I am fascinated by the possibilities of the material and elevating a waste product into something refined and beautiful. I’ve created a new shape for MADEmakers this time, originating from a fisherman’s float found in Dungeness, which I have adapted with clay to alter its form before taking a mould from the altered master shape.  There will be a small number of these delicate bottles available.  Each is a one off, as are most of my pieces.


Pilos Clay Art


pilos clay art foraged

The smoke fired vase, layered with terra sigillata, is a piece that is very dear to me. The terra sigillata is made of clay that I collect from my family’s olive grove in Crete and smoke fire in my island home.

I like to build my work using the slow and meditative coiling technique. I incorporate materials I find and collect in nature, such as crushed volcanic rocks, sand and various pigments. This is my way of making my work more personal, expressing my feelings and my thoughts. Making with clay is a therapeutic process for me. During stressful times I need to make in order to feel better and fight overthinking, and my studio becomes a kind of refuge.


Melina Xenaki


melina ceramics

Thankfully I spent lockdown in my hometown, Athens, in a house in the suburbs where animals were grazing between olive trees. I am thrilled with my goat & olive leaves vase. It is the very first of a series using a recently found glaze, which breaks beautifully on the cut-out forms. I have been coiling with black clay for a couple of years now and I am in love with the contrast between the white glaze and the bare ceramic surface.

A lot of glaze experimentation goes into my practice. I love collecting wood ash from different places I visit. Olive was my latest experiment. I look for interesting textures that will complement my vessel forms and accentuate the animals and plants they carry. I focus on hand-building, the making method I find most satisfying, as it allows me the freedom to be creative with every single piece.


See which ceramic artists are getting ready to join MADE Makers here

Visit the galleries from 9.00am, 5th-6th September 2020, to browse beautiful handmade pieces of art.

Until then, follow us on Facebook and Instagram for sneak previews! #MADEmakers