Kate Windibank is our artist of the month and is based at the Fenners.
How would you describe your current practice (eg materials, techniques, themes, key questions, approach)?
My practice involves a continuous investigation of form and surface, with particular emphasis on ceramic materials, fragmentation and natural processes. Exploring the concepts of human experience and the transformational nature of time I create vessels and ceramic sculptures based on abstracted landscape and eroded objects.
Working with porcelain and stoneware clay I tear, press and join the clay in spherical formers, once firm the clay is broken into shards and used to construct fragmented forms. Each fragment is carefully considered to find the most intriguing sense of balance and contrast, strength and fragility. This methodology creates forms with undulating edges, fault-lines and fissures.
The alchemical transformations that can be achieved in the kiln are integral to my work. As the heat-work of the kiln turns clay to stone metallic oxides are drawn out, reacting and flowing with glaze to create pattern, movement and texture that remains permanently frozen on the surface of the vessel.
What are you working on at the moment (forthcoming exhibitions, events, workshops, etc)?
I am currently completely absorbed in creating a series of large statement pieces, commissioned through the Italian gallery Kalpa Art Living for a new luxury hotel opening in New York City this summer.
What are you plans for the coming year?
My most immediate plan is to get back into my studio in the Fenners building at the Digswell Trust. I have been unable to work there for much of the pandemic and I miss the interaction with the other artists and I also desperately miss the wonderful space I have there.
What is the question that you most get asked about your work?
I really struggled to come up with an answer to this question, then I realised this was because I constantly question my work to such an extent that I forget what other people have asked me. So my answer would have to be that I ask myself “What works? What doesn’t work and how can I improve on this?”
Who or what inspires you?
My inspiration is drawn from landscape and objects that have been worn away by the forces of nature to reveal the secrets hidden beneath the surface.
Which artists do you most admire and why?
I have always been uncomfortable with the cult of the personality that revolves around art. For me the work is far more important than the artist.
Some of the Artists / Makers whose work I admire include, Louise Bourgeois, Barbara Hepworth, Koike Shoko, Ken Mihara, Yasuhisa Kohyama, Claudi Casonovas and Hans Coper who of course was previously also a Fellow at the Digswell Arts Trust.
How has your relationship with Digswell Arts strengthened your practice as an artist?
I was so fortunate to join Digswell straight after graduating from the Citylit Ceramics Diploma in 2019. When I joined I became part of a community of artists who offer support, inspiration and advice. I have also benefited greatly from the mentoring opportunities arranged by the trust which have helped me grow in confidence and professionalism.
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