BA(Hons) graduate in 3D Design and Craft from Brighton University, Laura stopped the judges in their virtual tracks with her ambitious ‘Cronx’ ceramic project which explores and celebrates the hidden beauty in the industrial landscape of her home town of Croydon.
Find out more about Laura - what fires her up and what she plans to create next.
"My project, Cronx, aims to celebrate the character and beauty within our ordinary, local surroundings and encourage an appreciation of these once unnoticed details in our everyday lives through a series of ceramic vessels. There is so much to rediscover within the landscapes we are so familiar with when we slow down and look.
My creative mission statement is to encourage an appreciation of the everyday through craft."
How do you feel about being spotted by the judges as a One to Watch – what does it mean to you?
I couldn’t believe it when I first heard. I’ve been following the Colour in Design Award’s since I was in first year, so it really feels like a dream come true to be picked as a One to Watch by such inspiring judges. I’ve particularly loved Camille Walala’s work for a long time now so having her as one of the judges that spotted my work is mind blowing.
How important is colour in your work and how do you choose and narrow down colours?
Whether it be in the studio making or in my sketchbooks, I always find that colour is such a fun element to experiment and be playful with, there’s something about it that just makes me happy. Especially with ceramics, you can never fully predict what will come out of the kiln.
For my third-year project colour was particularly important as I focused in on the brighter colours I found on a series of walks through Croydon’s urban landscape. Although Croydon, my hometown, isn’t well known for its beauty or brightness, I surprisingly found an array of joyful colours within this place perceived as grey and dull. The colours I found then inspired my ceramic vessels and are a symbol of how we can all learn to find and celebrate the beauty within our everyday surroundings.
What is your main source of inspiration?
I’m always open to gaining inspiration from anywhere or anything really, but if I had to pick one main source of inspiration it would be London. I was born and raised in South London and completely love the city, there’s so much to do and discover; I love to go around town exploring, using photography to document colours, the architecture and any other moments that stand out to me. That often feeds directly back into my ceramic practice and inspires what I’m making in the studio.
What makes you happiest/most fulfilled in your creative process?
Experimenting and being playful in the development stage of the creative process is when I’m at my happiest. When I start a project, I never know what the final outcome is going to be or look like, so I love it when I’ve found my starting point and I’m just happily testing colours, patterns and shapes in the studio, and seeing where that takes me.
What are you working on now?
During lockdown I started an Etsy shop making my own earrings as my way of keeping making whilst I didn’t have access to the ceramic workshop which I am still developing. A group of us Brighton alumni have secured a studio space which we’re hoping to get using very soon, I’ve got some new ideas I’m excited to test as well as finishing a few of my Cronx project pieces.
Where do you want to be in 3 years time?
I’ll hopefully have a studio space, either shared or my own, where I can continue to develop my ceramic practice and continue to be creative and playful. I’d love to be able to split my time between working on my own projects and working within the design industry so I can keep learning and meet great creatives.
Creative high point?
Getting into the studio and opening the kiln to find that my first large vessel had survived the firing. I had never built to such a large scale before and a lot of work had gone into making the mould and that first piece, so seeing it out of the kiln all colourful and still in one piece made me extremely happy.
Creative low point?
Right at the start of lockdown was quite a creative low point for me. I love the atmosphere of the studio so going from being in there five days a week to not at all was very hard. But I learnt to adapt and improvise with what making I could do from home and got through by looking forward to being back in the studio, playing with clay in the future.
Is there one person during your studies/life who has really made a difference to you?
I’ve been extremely lucky to have been surrounded and supported by all my amazing 3D peers, tutors and technicians at Brighton. They’ve all been there for me, pushed me to do my best and I’ve had such fun in the studio with them over the past three years.
But the one person who has really inspired me creatively throughout my life is my Grandad, Dennis Tilley. Throughout my childhood him and I would always be doing something creative, he would do these amazing drawings and he taught me how to draw too. He helped develop my passion for everything creative, which a long way down the road led to me doing 3D Design and Craft at Brighton. Anytime I have a creative low point I think of him, I couldn’t have got this far without him.
What is your favourite colour?
It’s very hard to pick just one, it often changes but I have always been a lover of green. My current favourite shade is a forest green!
Ceramics Instagram: @deasyceramics