Study Visit – The Biscuit Factory – December 2016

Study Visit – Biscuit Factory Winter Exhibition 2016 – 27/12/16

I have illustrated the highlights below, along with comments to inform my own practice.

The artist in the next few images, used types of printing to achieve the colours seen.  I was surprised at this, as her work to my eye, looks painterly.  Sophie Layton is her name.  There was very little information on her practice, thus I tried to research more about her methods.  However very little seen online, so I will make sure I take the photos I have into Northern Print next time I go and try and get them to explain them to me.  The colours are bright and look like a watercolour.  I wondered if whatever process she uses, could be practised on fabric as well as paper?  This is one to ask at the printers.

Below, this artist uses faces as his muse.  Mono print in such an expressive way.  Personally I loved them.  They didn’t hold any punches but really conveyed the artists view of the face.  Not prettied up.  However I could hear mixed reactions around me, some didn’t like the style, calling it “grotesque”.  The negative and positive element really works well here.  The are more linear while others are more in the positive, with negative features, such as lips and eyes (see bottom left image).



One artist I was really taken to, was illustrator Polly Fern.  Her work would be described as whimsical and is not only definite in style, but also tells a story.  Take for instance the piece below.  A woman holding a baguette, someone hiding under the table, objects everywhere….this attention to detail makes us read the image like a story and dwell on it.  The brown background, highlights the features we see, I think that this one element of plainness, makes the rest of the picture more viewable to the eye.


She stocked The Biscuit Factory with packs of cards, such as those left.  This one was inspired by Mary Poppins.  In her artist statement, she tells us what she is inspired by: My work is inspired by my childhood; I’m interested in discovering and sharing local stories, particularly garden stories and folk art. I grew up in the Norfolk countryside but now live in Norwich city. Wildlife is always present in my work, and I love the rich history of Norwich city and discovering its secrets. My ceramics are for ornamental use, acting as artifacts to document stories I’ve uncovered.

I graduated from my illustration course last year. I’m 21 and studied Illustration at Norwich University of the Arts, before going straight into working as a freelance illustrator. I recently joined a ceramics studio full-time instead of doing ceramics lessons, which I had previously taken for a few months whilst studying. I managed to create my whole body of degree show work in this short space of time.

Everything I make is hand built. I like the feel and act of a hand-drawn line in my ceramic work, so I see hand-building everything as important. I share a studio space with other ceramists and it’s just down the road from where I live. I have my own kiln, but sadly no-where to house it, so I’m hoping to build an outside studio in the near future. I hand build everything, predominantly working with earthenware and using slips and underglazes. A lot of chromium and cobalt oxide is used throughout my ceramic work; I love the natural pigmentation of the oxides and its historical roots in pottery.

I hand paint all of my decoration. I paper-cut a lot of my illustrations and then use the paper resist technique on raw ceramic, painting upon them with slip and peeling away the paper, then working back into the resist shapes with glazes and oxide details. It’s quite a labour-intensive process; with each piece I make taking a lot of time. But the process is important to my work and I wouldn’t enjoy it as much if it were straightforward.

s7Her influences are clearly seen through her Instagram account as seen pictured above:

What I love about her work, is that it is fresh, young and not pretentious.  She is simply drawing what she loves, not what she thinks others will like.  Influences include her canneries, dogs and her grandfathers love of the garden. One article about her work was titled:  ‘Storytelling in clay’ thus concreting my own views on her work.s8.jpg

It is this idea of personalisation and not worrying if the theme is “saleable” that I like.  I think this is important for me to learn too; that it’s not always about thinking ahead, but rather enjoying exploring now.

That area of recording the things around you and everyday life is important.  I think that’s something I myself could work on.


Phillip Hallam’s characters here, I love the style.  I can imagine it interpreted in a textile way.  Pastels are his medium, on coloured backgrounds.  See the backgrounds are not detailed, but give a pop of colour.  Maybe I could try this in the future.

Just a few notes on this visit, but every visit gives me a more solid idea of where I want to take my own practice or what I would like to experiment with.

It also makes you question methods and techniques and look them up at home.  This in turn widens out my own practice if I try them.


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