Can you start
by telling us who you are and what you do?
Linda Bloomfield: I am a scientist turned potter, making thrown
porcelain tableware, vases and bottles in my West London studio.
Sarah Spackman: I am an artist living and working in Oxford. I make
paintings based on observation, mainly still life paintings of every-day
objects including ceramics, fruits and vegetables.
When and how
did you both meet?
LB: I met Sarah
at Art in Action, Waterperry Gardens, where I was demonstrating throwing on the
wheel in the ceramics tent.
SS: We met up
again the following year when I also became a demonstrator in the painting
tent. We swapped some pots for a painting and I also commissioned some bowls.
What drew you
to each other’s work?
LB: I love still life paintings like Sarah’s. After our meeting at
Art in Action, Sarah started to include some of my pots in her paintings. I
visited her studio in Oxford to lend her some more pots and found she had
shelves of objects, ranging from old cider flagons to contemporary studio
SS: I love the shape and glaze that Linda uses in her ceramics, I
find them very paintable! They are also lovely to handle and use. There are
certain pieces [by Linda] that have appeared over and over again in my paintings.
explain a little bit about what the exhibition ‘Dialogues’ is about – what can
visitors expect to see?
LB: I made a range of different porcelain bottles and vases, some
plain, some fluted, inspired by mid-century Modern Scandinavian and British
studio pottery. In the exhibition, the
bottles will be displayed in frames like a still life. I asked Sarah to choose
a selection of pots to include in her paintings.
SS: I have
always enjoyed painting Linda’s pots and have incorporated them into many
paintings. These paintings are a direct response to the ceramics themselves and
also to the way in which such objects are displayed. Many pots are made for
every-day use but they can become elevated into something else by the way we
look at them.
do you both most identify with – have they had any direct influence on this
LB: We both love
the still life paintings of Giorgio Morandi. I have been looking at the objects
he painted and making my interpretation of the shapes. I have an old, battered
book of Morandi paintings and Sarah has a book of photographs of objects from
Morandi’s studio. The objects include metal oil cans, water jugs, glass
bottles, lamp bases and vases which he painted many times in different
SS: I have
always loved the paintings of Cezanne, Giacometti, Giorgio Morandi and Euan
Uglow amongst others. Both Morandi and Uglow in particular create paintings of
either single objects or groups and I love the stillness they generate.
Do you hope
to achieve new things as artists, by exhibiting together? Have you had to think
very differently about how you make your work?
SS: My work is about looking at things and how we see them. Recently,
I have been painting either single things or a couple of objects that I feel
relate to each other in some way. Working for this exhibition is giving me the
opportunity to create more complex compositions, combining ceramics with
organic objects. For me this means more questions about how these things that
we see and use daily, relate to one another when we spend more time looking at
their diverse colours and forms. 'Dialogues' for me is more of an individual
response to Linda's work, incorporating it into my own.
LB: I usually make repeat tableware for galleries, shops and
restaurants, so I am excited to make larger,
one-off pieces and still life groups in a gallery installation. This will
expand my practise as an artist as well as a production potter and tableware
designer. We have visited each other’s studios and discussed the exhibition
together and with Sarah Wiseman in the gallery. I am making three-dimensional
still life compositions, inspired by Morandi’s objects and Sarah’s paintings.
describe a typical day in the studio?
LB: My favourite day would be when I am throwing on the wheel. I try
to make at least one or two batches of 12 pots before lunch, and then another
two batches in the afternoon, depending on orders. My orders come from my
website and by email from galleries, shops and restaurants. Recently I have
been making a lot of handmade plates for restaurants as well as new vase and
bottle shapes for exhibitions.
SS: I am lucky enough to have a beautiful studio just a ten-minute
bike ride from home. I begin my day with drawing for a little while. It’s a way
to get my eye in. Then I spend the rest of the day painting. I usually have two
still life set ups in the studio at any one time, one that I work on during the
morning and then as the light goes around, I work on the other one in the
afternoon. It’s a lovely light and quiet space where I can spend my time thinking,
looking, and mixing colours.
exhibiting, what memorable responses have you had to your work?
LB: The best one
was from a National Trust buyer who said mine was the best thing she’d seen in
SS: I had a
review of an exhibition in Dublin where my work was described as giving the
viewer a ‘breathing space’. Most people say that my work has a sense of calm. I
like to think that still life paintings ‘still’ the viewer.
What’s next –
do you have a particular ambition or dream project?
LB: I am very
excited about the 'Dialogues' exhibition with Sarah. In September, I am also
exhibiting in the British Craft Pavilion at the London Design Fair. I would love
to make more installations.
SS: I just want
to keep painting! I would like to develop the stillness in my work and give the
colour more clarity.
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