May 18, 2016

Spotlight: Amy Worrall

It's almost the season for Amy Worrall's ceramics.

Neon-colored bikinis, sun kissed skin, and exposed nipples: these are just a few of the things that find their way into Amy Worrall's animated ceramic pieces. Worrall is an artist currently based in London but draws her inspiration from "topless girls in Florida and sunburnt Brits abroad in Costa del Sol." The objects she creates are both functional and decorative, ranging from bright, bubbly dinner plates to intricate vases adorned with bare breasts.

As someone who is personally DYING for summer (really, is it here yet?), admiring these pieces have helped me keep my sanity as I pull on my tights during the last chilly weeks of Spring. Worrall uses the majolica technique, a decorative pottery method, to achieve her playful and whimsical style and range of striking colors. The results will make you want to simultaneously daydream about the shore and overdose on sugary Italian ices. We spoke with Amy Worrall on her approach to ceramics, upcoming projects, and love of Drake.

The Le Sigh: You originally have a background in illustration. Can you share a little bit about how you first got into ceramics?

Amy Worrall: At art school illustration was a very open idea. I’d always been working in three dimensions using polymer clay so it was a natural progression after graduating. I’d just left London and moved back home so I was pretty bored, I sought out a ceramics evening class and knew instantaneously I had found a medium I loved (and my way back to London).

TLS: Are there any projects you’re exploring at the moment?

AW: I'm about to launch some new sculptures with Arrivals. The pieces are porcelain, a clay thats very new to me so I’m really excited about them. I still have a lot to learn about porcelain so that’s my main focus for now. I’m also at the very beginning of making my own slip casting moulds so I can produce identical shapes and experiment with different clay bodies and surface decoration. I’m hoping it will develop into a long term research project.

TLS: Describe your workspace/studio and your artistic process.

AW: My workspace at the moment doesn’t exist, I’ve been studio-less for a while so have been working wherever I can find a space which has most often been my parents house! Though those days are behind me as I just got the keys to a new studio. I don’t have a set process, occasionally I work linearly - research, sketch, tests, prototypes, finished piece. But most often I start working with the clay to know what I’m making. I can find it difficult to translate 2D to 3D, I often skip the 2D stage, my sketch books tend to be full of notes rather than drawings.

TLS: I really love the bright neon colors and beach imagery in your work. It makes me totally ready for summer time. What inspires your work’s aesthetic?

AW: My jumping off point has always been spring break, Florida and Brits abroad. I find my aesthetic by manipulating the clay; my hand is visible in all my work giving it intrinsic warmth. I have little interest in perfection. I make sculptures that show a reality that does not exist, using bright, neon colors. Showing a idealized existence of young women on holiday or drunk, always someway removed from the reality of their real lives. By portraying these girls I am exploring my own sense of self and experience.

TLS: Speaking of beach imagery. Do you have any beach recommendations for us? 

AW: Shockingly (though not to any one thats ever met me) I’m not a massive fan of the beach! I’m blessed with really pale, sensitive skin so I have to slathered in SPF 50 and in the shade 99% of the time. Luckily summers are pretty crappy in England, so I only have to endure it on holiday, when I tend to moan and ruin it for anyone in earshot of me. I live out all of my carefree tanned beach dreams in my work.

TLS: I saw that you did a piece on Hall & Oates that is absolutely fantastic. What music have you been into lately?

AW: I recently updated my phone and it deleted all of my music apart from "Hotline Bling", I’d hadn’t bothered to do anything about it because the Internet exists but then I went to Morocco a few weeks ago and was internet free so spent a 4 hour flight home listening to hotline bling on repeat. So basically Drake.

Check out more of Amy Worrall's work on her website.

Written by Diana Cirullo