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Kate is turning heads on the pottery scene

An up-and-coming ceramicist who is making headway in the pottery world has praised De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) for setting her on the path to success.

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Kate Welton, 23, graduated from DMU two years ago with a first-class honours degree in Design Crafts and has since landed a job with one of the county’s top ceramicists, Rachel Dormor.

And DMU played a big role in Kate securing this position as she first met her future employer when Rachel was a visiting tutor at the university.

Kate, who is from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, explained: “Building a rapport with Rachel during the last two years of my degree enabled me to be given the opportunity to undertake an internship with her.

“One of the aspects of the course that was very beneficial was the high number of visiting tutors and lecturers who came in throughout the year, each a specialist in a certain discipline.

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“Rachel has been a visiting tutor at DMU since 2012 and teaches ceramics workshops, gives tutorials and is present at group critiques and student presentations. Her technical knowledge and throwing expertise was a wonderful resource.

“Studying at DMU directly aided me in finding relevant employment after graduating and as Rachel’s assistant, I have been very fortunate to be given opportunities I would otherwise not have been able to access.”

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Kate, who attended DMU from 2012-2015, has been working as an assistant to Rachel at her studio in Cambridge since August 2015.

Rachel’s beautiful porcelain tableware is all finely thrown on a potter’s wheel and she has enjoyed considerable success since launching a 20th anniversary collection at international shows in 2009.

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Kate (left) working away with Rachel in her studio 

Kate also helped at Rachel’s gallery ‘Rachel Dormor Home’ at Burwash Manor, Cambridgeshire, until October 2016, before moving to solely working at Rachel’s studio where she does everything from weighing out and preparing clay to mixing batches of glaze and making moulds.

Harking back to her time at DMU, Kate said: “Design Crafts is a brilliant course as it offers a wide range of craft disciplines to explore, has excellent facilities and a team of highly-skilled and knowledgeable staff.

“Although the focus is on developing a creative body of work, the course offers a rounded perspective on the world of contemporary craft. Modules such as Professional Practice help to prepare students for life after university by covering areas such as costing work, approaching galleries and stockists, and creating a portfolio for interviews.

“The workshop facilities are fantastic and there is great access with knowledgeable technicians on hand to help with any practical difficulties. Each student also has their own studio space which is a great resource and the tutors are all practising craftspeople who are experts in their fields, so all have experience of the word of contemporary craft.”

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Kate is now planning to approach galleries to sell her own work.

Kate’s work is all thrown in stoneware on a potters’ wheel and is inspired by traditional gardening tools and processes. These processes are subtly referenced in her ceramic work; pierced holes in colanders hint at watering and jar-like vases allude to storing and gathering.

Drawing is integral to Kate’s practice, and the forms of the garden tools are considered and abstracted, creating a catalogue of surface pattern designs. The simple forms of her thrown collection provide a canvas on to which she paints with slips, using a variety of techniques to build up layers of decoration.

Kate is now expanding her range of ceramics and producing new pieces which she aims to exhibit at craft shows throughout the year.

Posted on Tuesday 28th March 2017

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