Monthly Archives: April 2013

Artist Spotlight – Ember Vincent

It’s hard to put a finger on where creativity comes from but for me, my creativity is a compulsive, obsessive drive than has always been there and hopefully always will. Sometimes it can be hard for people that don’t have it to understand the urge to create, how it takes priority and is absolutely fulfilling. I feel it is definitely something that comes from within rather than an outer influence, otherwise it would be easier to be distracted from it!

I develop new ideas by taking photographs of things that inspire me which tend to be focused on natural colours and textures – landscapes, leaves, rocks, moss, seedpods etc, and I visit beautiful places. I hold these images in my mind or lay them around me while I work. If I have an idea brewing for a new sculpture, I don’t sketch ideas on paper, instead I “sketch in clay” – working a piece of clay until a figure begins to emerge, then researching and refining as I go along. I describe this process as working intuitively, in that I don’t plan pieces; rather follow my intuition whilst I’m creating.

Inspiration is everything – if you are not inspired by what you do on a day-to-day basis then what is the point in doing it? No-one would become a ceramicist for the money (!) Not every day as an artist runs smoothly, so you have to love what you are doing and remind yourself constantly how lucky you are to be able to create your thoughts and dreams, even on the days when you question yourself, e.g. when Raku firing outdoors with flu on a wet and windy winters evening, or coming home from an unsuccessful show. If you persevere then this hopefully becomes your work, i.e. the way you make your living. I have been making things out of clay for 15 years and only exclusively making a living as a ceramicist for the last two years after taking a leap of faith. I love my job!

If I ever feel I have no ideas, I carry on making – beginning by repeating designs that have worked before until the creative juices start flowing again – as long as I carry on with my hands in the clay new ideas are never far away!

 

When I was five I wanted to be a pavement artist when I grew up – I have always drawn, painted, designed but was never sure what direction I was going in until I discovered clay, then I never looked back. I have never had a period when I haven’t created, I just had part time jobs alongside to support myself and buy materials, but ceramics was always the main drive in my life – and now I’m doing it full time!

I spent 15 years seriously ill with M.E / CFS, the first few years bedridden. This enabled me to do an awful lot of internal exploration and has influenced and shaped who I am today. My creative force was often a shining light in an otherwise dark world and it kept me striving onwards, upwards and finally out the other side.

With my sculptures I make repeats of original designs so that they are affordable. I also make larger one – off pieces. My vases are all unique. I like to have a mix of both – it is important to me to create one – off pieces regularly as this is where you can fly free creatively – and with these I banish any thought of whether they are marketable whilst I am making them.. I also think it is important to have pieces that your average person can afford – art should be accessible, not just for the elite.

It doesn’t come naturally but I am finding this side of things easier as time goes on – I enjoy exhibiting at shows where I can talk to people about my work and receive feedback. I get a lot of good ideas from shows and exhibitions about new pieces! I find however that if I make pieces with a particular audience in mind and allow the creative process to be influenced, they lose their integrity and don’t actually sell as well, so I try not to think about selling work as I am making it. Instead I make work I want to make, then take a step back, look at it and work out where and how it would be best to sell it. If money were no object I would still make the pieces I make but I would probably have a massive studio and storage space and therefore be free to make much larger pieces as well!

 

Times are hard for a lot of people financially and I’ve been to several shows recently where established artists are not selling as well as they used to, but perseverance is the key. My view is that artists may also need to adapt to survive, not by altering their work but by looking at new outlets, new ways of getting their work out there and possibly sharing their knowledge through teaching – I teach classes occasionally and love drawing the creativity out of people – the most common scenario is people coming to a class or workshop saying they’ve got an idea but it’s probably too difficult – I always say – of course you can do it – I’m here to show you how.

 

My one desire artistically would be not to have to think about the money or actually sell anything– just to have the time and space to create and show it off every now and then.   I’d love to work in wood and make some pieces that were wood and ceramic combined – I think the two elements complement one another beautifully – maybe one day!