Skip to content

CLASS OF 2019: DMU fires Ellie up for creative career in ceramics


Cultivating her craft at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has helped Ellie Barton secure a job with luxury interior design brand deVOL.


The Design Crafts graduate started her role as a ceramic assistant last week and is making plaster moulds for tableware and lighting fixtures, with opportunities to contribute to the design process.

“I’m having a great time, it’s really amazing to be doing something I love. Everyone is really lovely and it’s so exciting being around other creatives,” said the 23-year-old from Market Harborough.

Based in Leicestershire, with showrooms in London and New York, deVOL’s bespoke kitchens and interiors have been featured across the media from television programmes such as Grand Designs to Country Living magazine.

Ellie made an impression with her collection of slip-casted earthenware featuring distinctive brushstrokes, which she developed during her time at DMU.


“I like using single and multiple colours, or combining three different tones to create a horizon effect. The aesthetic is a nice contrast to the shape of my pieces, which is inspired by brutalist architecture,” she said.

With plenty of slip-casting and mould-making experience under her belt, Ellie secured her job before graduating with a First last month.

She said: “It was good to know I had a job lined up before finishing my final project as it took a bit of pressure off me. I’m a perfectionist, so it was good to relax a little bit.

“I have DMU to thank for its amazing facilities. Not every university has dedicated plaster rooms - where I used the lathe to make my moulds – or ceramic and kiln rooms.”


During her degree, Ellie’s work was recognised by Sainsbury’s. Working to a live brief set by the supermarket giant, she wowed the design team with her set of hanging planters and was rewarded with a two-week internship at the brand’s headquarters.

“It was a really good experience and everyone was very friendly. It involved lots of computer design and I enjoyed doing trend forecasts,” she said.

“Maybe I can pursue something like it in the future, but I want to carry on making for now.”

Hot summer ahead for Design Crafts graduate Morgan
Renowned glass maker inspires DMU students to explore their creativity
We have Design Crafts places available for a September start through Clearing


Ellie has converted her garage into a studio with a kiln so she can continue to develop her own designs, which she recently showcased at Leicester’s Art at The Chapel exhibition.

Other degree highlights for Ellie include being chosen to show her final-year work at New Designers, one of the UK’s biggest events for emerging talent, and visiting the Brooklyn Glass studio during a trip to New York with #DMUglobal, the university’s international experience programme.

She was also awarded the Albert Thomas Roberts Arts and Crafts Scholarship Award at DMU’s Degree Show.

“I loved my course and I didn’t want to leave. From regular lectures by successful artists to the brilliant facilities, it really sets you up for the future,” she said.

“I’m going to miss the workshops and working with other people, especially the support from the technicians – they are absolute geniuses, you can ask them anything and they know the answer.”

Find Ellie Barton’s designs on Instagram and Facebook.

Posted on Friday 9th August 2019

Search news archive