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46 INTERVIEW Tiffany Scull

Tiffany Scull

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eramic artist Tiffany Scull combines her love of drawing with unique decoration techniques to tell the story of fleeting moments in time in clay. Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts movement are particular design influences, while birds, fish and the natural world are often depicted upon her vessels. Each of her forms are wheel thrown using white stoneware clay, turned and then decorated with coloured slips which the artist develops herself. The ceramic pieces are then defined and heightened with her beautiful sgraffito drawings, a technique which sees Scull cutting through the clay at the leather hard stage of drying to reveal the contrasting colour beneath the slip. This is a complex and time consuming process, and is all created freehand with spectacular results after the final firing. This year Scull will be exhibiting pieces at Handmade at Kew, as well as part of the Art in Clay show at Hatfield, Hertfordshire.

Tell us about your journey into ceramics & particular the Sgraffito technique? I first discovered ceramics during a module on a HND in Design and this began my life time obsession. The path into my present form of making started at a small pottery on the Isle of Wight where I learnt to throw, it wasn’t until I set up my first studio in 2001 that I began working with slips and drawing on to clay. Up until this point my drawing and ceramics had been very separate but as I fell in love with the technique of Sgraffito the lines blurred between paper and clay. Your work is very process-heavy as each piece is made by hand before being decorated; how does the decoration influence the way you build and form the ceramics and vice versa? My decoration and thrown ceramic forms are

completely intertwined and I always visualise the two as one final work. Different sizes and shapes suit different subject matter and making sure there’s enough space on the piece for the sgraffito decoration to breathe is very important. I compress the clay a lot when I throw as this helps to reduce the chances of cracking which is crucial as my detailed decoration is completed before being dried and fired. There is a fine line to be explored between craft & fine art; do you feel it important to make this distinction in your work? I feel my work crosses over between craft, fine art and sculpture so I do find it difficult to give myself a definitive title. The forms are of course ceramic but the way in which I decorate the surface involves drawing, painting and carving taking many hours to complete before the final stages of

Inside artists - issue 10  

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