Jamie Louise McIntosh – Ceramics

posted in: artist spotlight 1

I am driven by curiosity and colour. Experimentation and the unknown are key to my work. Which I think is quite handy considering ceramics can be extremely unpredictable, you are never certain that what you put in the kiln will emerge intact or in pieces or if the colour will be what you planned. But I have always enjoyed surprises so I tend not to mind.

I develop through making, I find getting stuck into an idea and trying it out is the most advantageous way for me to develop, maybe with a few doodles along the way. I also find that writing everything down like processes and ideas can help.

Inspiration for me is what drives an idea, although it is work that your making, its the being inspired that keeps you pushing through with an idea, especially when, at points, it isn’t going your way.

Ideas come to me at the oddest moments, there are some that I will never be able to pin point when they came to mind. I try to keep track of them all so that if there’s nothing new at all in my head usually there’s an idea somewhere that I can work on. However I find that if I keep calm and don’t become consumed with generating ideas, they usually come easier than if I get stressed and over think it all.

During High school I was set on going to art school in either Glasgow or Edinburgh. It wasn’t until after visiting the open days at both these art schools that I felt uncomfortable in the buildings and decided not to apply. Instead I began a course at Glasgow Caledonian University doing Psychology, however I knew the day I stepped foot in the door that I was going to hate it. I stuck it out for a year but decided in the summer of 2009 that I wasn’t going back and I wanted to be an artist after all. Gray’s school of Art in Aberdeen stood out to me as they had a general first year course and they were willing to give me an interview despite my late application and when I went up for the very first time I knew that was where I wanted to be. I’m a big believer on going with your gut instinct and thats what I’ve done since then. I never thought I’d have seen myself as a ceramicist, I was never a very patient person but it was the best decision I made and I believe that not going to Glasgow or Edinburgh was the right path because Gray’s school of art is the only art school in Scotland to still have a ceramics department as part of the 3D design course so I definitely think it was meant to be.

Being an artist is part of my life, I make time for it like I do anything else. But I don’t let it take over, I could very easily get carried away in my studio and let days pass but I want to ensure I have a life with my boyfriend, family and friends. They have all supported me through my journey at art school and now as a new artist, so I’d like to make sure they have an as important place in my life as much as being an artist has.

I love colour, despite working with predominantly white pieces just now I love exploring how colour can alter ceramic works. Experimentation with glazes is a major part of my day to day work in my studio and I’m always trying out a new variation of a glaze to get the best colour.

I think it is nice to create one off pieces as you and the person who commissioned it know there is only one out there. However I believe that unless your a mass producing company no 2 pieces will be entirely the same. For me my work is repeated but every piece is different as the tools I use don’t allow for repeating the same texture and design twice, because I embrace the little bits that fall off none of my pieces are exactly the same.

As I’m a new graduate I’m only just beginning to understand the difficulties of being an artist, both financially and artistically. I try to take on as many opportunities as I can, however I do need to work in another job that I can live off of. If money was no object I don’t think the style of my work would change but I would take on more work and be able to have all the facilities I needed to go ahead with different or larger scale ideas.

I think there will always be a place for artists, people will and have always enjoy art and craft and work that they know is made with true passion and enjoyment. Its just a matter of money, but I’m optimistic that artists will always have a place, we might just have to work a little harder to get noticed.

I don’t think my one wish would be to be rich and famous (although that would be nice). Maybe this is because I’m only new to the world of being an artist but my hearts desire would be to not give up. I want to be able to see this through and make something
out of it, take my skills further and become excellent at what I do.

If I could learn one new skill, it would be glass. I tried it out a few times at art school but myself and glass never got on, never the less I would like to keep trying it and see if I’m any good at it.

I like to have back ground noise and light when I’m working. I don’t mind a messy environment when I’m working as long as its cleared up for me starting again. The only downside is the sink is in a different room and when your working with clay and plaster and other messy materials its a little bit of a nuisance, but its not the end of the world.


  1. Avril Black

    Jamie it’s Avril . Just wondering if it’s your mum and dad’s 50th. Wanted to send a card thanks xxxx

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