Based in: London
Kirsty Macrae’s ceramics are an exploration of gesture, form, colour and place. She adds to the rich tradition in ceramics of painting onto the clay to document the world and to tell stories. Her work documents specific places, memories, objects she uses and the music she listens to.
Her ceramics are shaped by her background as a painter. She creates work that playfully imagines clay as the canvas, both in form and surface. She employs traditional pottery decorative techniques alongside mark-making usually associated with abstract expressionist painting to create lush, layered surfaces.
Kirsty graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 2009 with a Ba(Hons) in Fine Art: Painting & Printmaking.
She lives and works in London, United Kingdom.
Clay inspires me to show it off to its best ability. I explore it in various ways, whether that is by mastering coiling, developing a rainbow of colours, using thick porcelain slip in an impasto style, or forcing glazes to run. I’m interested in bringing those qualities out rather than reigning them in.
The starting point for my work is usually sketches and my own photography. I then build my work using coils of red earthenware clay. The are then painted with handmade coloured slips (liquid clay) using a variety of decorative and painting techniques, such as inlay, wax resist and action painting. My making process is a bit like painting in the dark as the coloured slips and glazes barely resemble the finished colours during the making phase. The pieces are finally fired to 1100 degrees which when the final aesthetic emerges.
Painterly, Colourful, Expressionist
I started looking at the work of more contemporary potters like Simon Caroll, whose work also stems from the traditions of making from English slipware. At this point I didn’t even know what slipware was, and first time I saw this type of pottery I thought it was so ugly! But it also seemed so radical to me. It’s very simple too- a good clay, a slip and a glaze can create endless opportunity for forms and mark making. At the moment, I’m really into the work of Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn & Alison Britton.
My hands! They dictate the way that all of materials act and their marks are left in the end result.
My sister once told me that being creative is “just about doing it”. I think that approaching your creative practice with a carefree attitude about the results generates more successful, imaginative work. I’m always reminded about her advice when a piece of work doesn’t turn out how I expected or if I’m in a bit of a rut.
The Victoria & Albert Museum, the Tates. Long walks along the canals near where I live.
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