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Coastline-inspired ceramic designs by DMU graduate are making a splash

A hybrid technique for making ceramics, developed at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), has led to widespread recognition and a prestigious residency for a Fine Art MA graduate.

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Hannah Tounsend has just embarked on a month-long residency at the International Ceramics Research Centre in Guldagergaard, Denmark, a prestigious artist-in residence for professionals worldwide.

Until recently, Hannah worked at DMU as a ceramics technician for seven years, and was supported in pursuing an MA as part of her staff development.

The residency, together with the opportunity to exhibit at the next British Ceramics Biennial in 2017, is Hannah’s prize for winning the 2015 FRESH award, as part of the festival’s showcase of the UK’s most promising graduate talent.

The 36-year-old said: “I’m really looking forward to taking advantage of the fantastic facilities and specialist input during my residency. I’m hoping it will help me to get some real scale into my pieces.”

“DMU has really prepared me for my career as a contemporary maker, I have received great support as a student, employee and as a graduate. Completing my MA there has given me the opportunity, facilities and guidance to develop my own individual way of making.”

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Hannah’s distinctive style is down to her hybrid making technique that combines slip-casting and throwing.

She starts with a plaster mould, adds colour and casts her pieces. She then throws them using a potter’s wheel to make each one unique.

The mould creates a ridge of clay that accentuates the join and breaks away in irregular fragments, which has become Hannah’s inimitable signature.

Hannah said: “My work explores the layered landscapes and weatherworn surfaces of the British coastline. Marks, lines and colours are built up, cut through and dissolved away.

“The repeatedly worked surfaces of clay and print are under constant revision, referencing the endless remaking of the shore.”

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Working out of a studio at her West Sussex home, Hannah is quite literally embedding the coastline within her pieces. She collects bits of broken glass and rusty washers found on the beach, firing them into her pieces, to result in unpredictable spills of colour.

Hannah will be exhibiting and demonstrating her hybrid making technique at Art in Action this July and recently became a member of the Craft Potters Association.

Before working at DMU and undertaking her MA, Hannah graduated from DMU’s Ceramics and Glass BA in 2003 (now known as Design Crafts BA), and went on to work as a homeware designer for high street giant, NEXT.

Photos by Dave Usher

Posted on Friday 15th April 2016

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