Overview

Elin Hughes likes to get physical. She likes to punch her wheel thrown pots, slicing and pounding the soft clay until the original form is defeated. Then, Hughes deliberately reconstructs the broken vessel in a rough hewn way - like the Japanese fashion designer who deconstructs a jacket and wears it inside out in a search for abstract purity.

Non functional pots are rooted in 20th century modernist philosophy and practice: Elin Hughes quotes Martin Heidegger  “the potters medium is not clay but space.” In abstract art the medium is the message and pots without a function rely on the skilful manipulation of clay to goad and tickle our senses and ignite our suggestive memory: they are also beautiful to look at, each angle revealing a different picture - light and shade on shape and space. Full of character these pots make us smile and if Picasso was alive he would delight in Elin’s quirky cubisim - in the 1940s Pablo Picasso was creating and decorating ceramics with majolica tin glazes which mirrored the bright colours of the Mediterranean. Elin’s ideas might be contemporary but her decorative techniques were all the rage in medieval Europe. Her translucent jewel colours are achieved by tin-glazing earthenware and firing it a second time. This technique originates in the Middle East in the 9th century. Majolica ware, named after the island of Majorca, was made by 14th and 15th century Spanish and Italian potters. In Victorian England majolica ware was  first shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851. The public loved it so much that china factories Minton and Wedgwood were able to mass produce the functional and cheap majolica which can still be seen on granny’s window sill, charity shops and car boot sales.

Works
Installation shots