Fenella Elms is an English ceramicist working primarily in porcelain. I happened across her work a while ago and ever since have been enchanted by her minimal use of color and textured, feather-like forms.
Working from her studio in the countryside of Wiltshire Downs, Elms was self taught in ceramics for years, seeking out workshops and independent classes before enrolling in Swindon College in 2008.
Elms worked for years as an Occupational Therapist for the National Health Services. At 40 she started to regularly use a gifted potters wheel.
Elms feels very strongly that her experience working for the NHS has informed her artistic practice, and the work she creates. While in school, she focused on skin - up close, textured, uneven, microscopic studies in intricacy. While her current work has moved away from overtly bodily references, the scale and care remain the same.
Citing nature as a major inspiration for her work, Elms keeps bees, fish, ducks and sheep and I can clearly see the natural patterns of these animals in her work. The shape of feathers, the repetition of honeybee hives.
Elms’ forms are made using porcelain slip which is a casting process. Each element is individually cast in slip and them assembled by Elms and her team.
The end result of the process allows for the intricate, ethereal works to vary slightly but remain overall uniform and calming.
Elms cites this poem among her favorites when working in the studio:
"For that globe was just perfect / No more and no less / And the potter was happy / At such a success.
Through distant mists shining / On the planet he smiled / Then gave it to Man / Saying: “Take it, my child!
Take care not to break it / For surely, I feel / I’ll never repeat it / On my potter’s wheel!”
To see more of Elm's’ work, check out her website, here!