Stories / Inspiration /
Katy West proposed to work specifically with Scottish ceramic manufacturer, Highland Stoneware to develop a set of three storage jars within the constraints of a specific machine, process and context. This was to investigate the Jigger and Jolly process, which is one of the first industrial ceramic processes still in use today. Essentially, mechanical throwing using plaster moulds - in the context of Highland Stoneware, a thriving ceramic business in rural Lochinver.
The company which was set up by David Grant in the 1970's, was to design and manufacture practical stoneware in the Highlands, supporting skilled employment to local people and producing highly decorative functional-ware with illustrations celebrating the nature and environment of Scotland.
In her proposal, Katy highlighted that "In a dwindling British-based ceramic economy I am fascinated by what makes Highland Stoneware so successful, while located in an extremely remote area, producing such a particular range of products"
Through producing her work, Katy investigated this context, whilst producing a range of objects that are simple in their design, universal in their appeal, and although owing much to modernist utilitarian ideals as well as ceramic history, are not particular to any time or place.". The results so far (thought these are still being fired) are subtle in their form, and brilliant in what they investigate.
In conversation too, we realised that Katy had also developed an understanding in how to best approach and work with a manufacturer as an individual designer. This insight in how to develop a working design with industry relationship is hugely valuable as something to pass on to other artists and designers wishing to work in this way.