Hand made slip decorated white earthenware tile, hand painted with underglaze colours, with a transparent gloss glaze. 2021
From the book: Swan Lake
Size: Approx 14 x 14 x 1cm
FOLLOW THE DOTS
Emily Mitchell for The Shop Floor Project
We are very excited to add another new artist to The Shop Floor Project this year. Emily Mitchell is a UK based ceramicist, illustrator and artist who combines contemporary slipware with a love of literature and typeface.
As Emily slowly applies thousands of tiny dots of liquified clay, better known as ‘slip’, onto her hand thrown plates, letters and words begin to surface. As the plates are grouped together in a specific order, intriguing poetic phrases and familiar quotations appear.
Taking quotes from favourite poets such as Emily Dickinson and from novels such as Jane Eyre, Bleak House and Orlando, Emily dives into the page and lifts out words and phrases that resonate with her on a poetic level but also on visual level, seeing the graphic potential of certain words isolated and segmented between plates.
The glazes Emily uses have a distinctly 18th century colour palette, as if they were paint samples for rooms in a Spitalfield town house, and relate to the source of the text.
In Planets To Flowers which is taken from the Emily Dickinson poem, the glaze, like the night sky, is in a deep midnight blue with dots in a milky white slip, acting like stars shining out of the plate.
In And Almost Alone from Jane Eyre the glaze is in a soft moss green to reflect the moorland landscape where Charlotte Bronte’s heroine finds peace.
The few single pieces Emily has created have real impact. A favourite in the collection is the More plate. Just four letters from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist in bellowing capitals recalls the famous passage when the orphan asks for more food.
The beautifully made plates have a gloriously wobbly feel to them, and the dotted theme continues along the rims and on the base, where each one is stamped with the maker’s mark.
Working from her studio in Norwich, Emily creates hand-built and hand-thrown ceramics including plates, tiles and cups, all using her special slipware dot technique and often combining with hand painted scenes. A graduate of Central Saint Martins College of Art, Emily also teaches at various institutions and colleges throughout the UK.
Emily’s connection with ceramics began with her mother, the ceramicist Judith Onions, who was best known for her re-invention of the classic blue and white striped 'Cornishware' for TG Green & Co. Her own work grows out of an interest in everyday and historic objects to tell their own stories.
“I love narrative and classic fiction and often use literature as a source for ideas. I enjoy looking at and working with museum collections and archives and I am especially interested in the idea of the ‘souvenir’ and creating loaded objects - hand-sized and intimate.”
Emily has also created a collection of exquisite miniatures in the form of hand-painted tiles. Continuing with her exploration through literature, the tiles feature scenes and characters such as Pilot the dog from Jane Eyre; a lion, witch and a wardrobe from C. S. Lewis’s classic tale; and a glove from the hands of Virginia Woolf’s Lord Orlando.