New Ashgate Gallery champions the best of contemporary art and craft providing an unparalleled resource in Farnham, Surrey and beyond
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Lisa Ellul studied Three Dimensional Design at the Manchester Metropolitan University specializing in ceramics. It was during her second year of study that Lisa was selected to take part in an exchange program to study ceramics at Blaker College in Norway. It was here in the isolation of rural Norway in the depths of winter that her true love of ceramics blossomed. She loved the versatility and endless possibilities of clay.
Lisa creates her unique hand built ceramic vessels, forms and botanical wall art from her studio in the beautiful Peak District. She has always had a love of nature and been fascinated by the beautiful natural structures and textures found in plants, bark and seed pods. It is this natural theme that inspires her ceramics.
Lisa's vessels are constructed from layers of finely rolled tubes or cones of clay. These are organised in a structured formation building the thickness of the vessel wall. Some vessels are multi-layered and hold a solid, weighted volume. Others are simple one-layer vessels resembling seed pods. This method of construction creates an intricate texture and articulation of surface. Surfaces are almost bone like with fossilised leaf patterns or inlayed textures. Simple washes of oxides highlight texture and the occasional use of gold leaf adds a sense of luminosity and luxury. Lisa aims for her pieces to intrigue and fascinate the viewer.
Since setting up in 1997 Lisa have exhibited throughout the United Kingdom as well as America and Europe. Her ceramics are in the collection of The City Gallery, Manchester and William Ismay's private collection since donated to The Yorkshire Museum.
Learn more about Lisa's work: Interview with Lisa and Amy Bolton, Art Consultant, NAG:
Amy: Where are you from?
Lisa: I'm originally from the South Coast but now live and work in the Peak District.
A: What did you get up to during lockdown?
L: Lots of walking! We're extremely fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of the country and I've never been more thankful for the countryside as I have been these last few months. At the beginning of lockdown I must say that the anxiety of the situation and worry over loved ones had a negative impact on my creativity and I had no appetite to make at all. It was also strange not to have deadlines for the first time in my 24 year career as a maker! I kept myself busy by becoming a local volunteer and of course walking. As the weeks progressed and I got used to the new normal my urge to make returned and I headed back into the studio. Definitely one of my happy places!
A: Who is your favourite ceramic artist and why?
L: So many to choose from but I'll have to settle on Vanessa Hogge. We have a shared passion for all things botanical and I absolutely love how incredibly intricate her pieces are. The painstaking work that goes into each piece but they never laboured, always fresh and spontaneous. I absolutely adore them and am very luck to own a piece!
A: How has your work evolved over the years?
L: It's definitely slowly evolved organically over time rather than myself taking decisions to push it in one way or the other. It's become so much more refined as my skills as a maker have improved over the years.
A: What would be your advice for someone starting out their career in crafts?
L: I feel heartbroken for those who should have been graduating this year and have missed out on degree shows and lost out on the opportunity to present their work at New Designers. We're in such unprecedented times finding ourselves in a global pandemic, which is having a huge impact on the most established of makers. Currently I would say to get a strong online presence, a well-designed website. At the very start of your career and maybe many years into it be prepared to have other income sources as it isn't always financially viable to be a full-time maker. Don't jump in headfirst at expensive shows (when they are allowed to run again) until you have visited and carried out research as to whether they are right for you. Contact and build relationships with galleries and shops. I'm still with galleries that have supported me right from the very start.
A: What do you enjoy most about making?
L: Losing myself in the sheer joy of making and creating a piece of art out of mud!
A: Thank you, Lisa.