Vanessa Conyers

Hand built earthenware ceramics

2001 MA (Ist Hons) Bath Spa University
Lives and works in Dorset

I create fine ceramics from earthenware paper clay that are printed, wrapped, constructed and then delicately hit until they begin to collapse. Colour is applied and enamel decals are cut into the surface, and I’m unable to call a piece finished unless it’s sparkling with mother of pearl and with gold, the traditional hallmarks of decadent luxury


Inspiration comes from everywhere; design and fashion from many eras, music, colours, feelings and ideas are simmered down into objects that, individually, are explorations of surface design and decoration, but when seen as a series of collections become a form of self portraiture where I see a growing essence of my soul and imagination being instilled piece by piece.

My latest collection ‘Magic Weather’ is a celebration of nature and the seasons that was initially inspired by a piece of music. I’m now working on designs that will reveal glimpses into an Alice in Wonderland style world where secret gardens, hazy skies and dark, distant mountains, trees and silhouettes, form a collective landscape stretched across numerous pieces.

Technical notes

I work with thin sheets of earthenware paper clay built free hand or over wooden moulds. Sometimes I roll fabric or other textures into the clay to leave an imprinted design. Slips, oxides, and underglazes are painted, splattered, washed or mono- printed onto the raw surfaces, and the work is fired and then glazed.

Once the second ‘glaze’ firing has been completed, traditional enamel decals are applied to the glazed surface and further firing takes the glaze to a temperature where it softens and allows the enamel to merge into it. For commissioned work I often make digitally printed decals of my own designs, these are also fired at this stage.

Finally, swathes of mother-of-pearl and precious metal lustres are painted inside, outside, and around the edge, being fired again to the lowest temperature of 720 degrees. Often the enamel and lustre firings are repeated numerous times to build up rich, sparkling surfaces, with pieces enduring a minimum of four trips through the kiln.

Selected Exhibitions

2012 The Ceramic House, Artists Open House event, Brighton
2012 House Open @ The Dome, Brighton (Selected exhibition)
2012 A Right Royal Knees Up!, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
2012 Together in Electric Dreams, Riflemaker, London.
Tea set made in collaboration with painter Stuart Pearson Wright.
2011 The Secret Emporium, The Village Underground, London
2011 The Corn Exchange, Brighton.
2011 Inspire, Walford Mill Crafts, Wimborne, Dorset
2007 [email protected], Miller’s Barn, Plush, Dorset
2007 Bloodrelative, Paintworks, Bristol
2006 The Midnight Party, The Shotgun Gallery, Blandford Forum, Dorset
2005 Girls With Good Legs, The Shotgun Gallery, Blandford Forum, Dorset
2004 New Designers, Business Design Centre, London
2004 Degree Shows 2004, Bath Spa University College, Sion Hill, Bath