Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Artist Feature: The Wonderful work of Sophie Bruen

The simple and sleek forms that ceramicist Sophie Bruen uses combined with the detailed and delicate insects and foliage really captured my eye when I came across her artist page on Facebook. When you follow Sophie's work it is lovely to see how she is constantly evolving as an artist, creating new pieces and really having fun with the craft. Each piece is beautiful in a different way- from the simplicity of a white dish with one single green fern curled up inside to the complex kaleidoscope patterns where multicoloured butterflies fly off a white background. The images below are just a small sample of the large body of work that Sophie has created in a surprisingly short space of time.

1. How did your business come about (and when did you start)?

I started up my studio in March 2013 after leaving my job and taking the plunge into self employment. I lost my sister unexpectedly a few years previously and in realising first hand that life is truly too short it was imperative for me to make every minute count and do something that filled my soul with the 'good stuff'.

2. Can you give a quick insight into your working method? (ideas, techniques, etc.)

I make hand-crafted ceramics, mostly functional and always inspired by the natural world. I use the slip casting method with white earthenware clay and plaster moulds, which I make. All my work is then hand glazed. I photograph my subject matter whether it be insects, flora or fauna (I have a huge collection of entomology at home!) and then transfer the images onto ceramic paper to fire onto my pots.

3. What has been the hardest single obstacle to your life in design (apart from a shortage of time, which seems to be universal amongst creatives!)?

The hardest single obstacle, obviously apart from time, is balancing home life with my studio work as I am a single parent working from home. Quite often the house is an utter mess and I find myself throwing food to my daughter from the studio!!

4. How do you stay motivated? What inspires you?

I am constantly motivated, the natural world, besides anything to do with shapes and forms of my clay work, is an ever wondrous excitement! I often wake at 3am with new design ideas.

5. What has been the icing on the cake for you as an artist/designer?

The icing on the cake for me as an artist has to be the dialogue I hold with all my customers and followers on Facebook. They are a constant source of encouragement. I love them all.xx

6. Who do you admire (other artists/designers; other people generally) and what/who are your biggest influences, past or present?

What I admire most in other people/artists is integrity and simply striving to be the best they can be, whether that be painter, ceramicist, baker, candlestick maker.......constantly striving for fulfillment and the desire to be good at what they do.

My biggest influence would be someone who can look straight into the eyes of adversity and manage to flourish.

7. Describe your creative space creative space...hhhmmmmm, well it is very untidy! I am constantly covered in clay and plaster (much to my daughters dismay at school pickup). My studio is forever lagged with clay etc dead insects, bones and skulls! I also have a dreadful habit of dispersing scraps of paper with ideas on everywhere. I am not very organised!

8. What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

The best piece of advice I have ever been given was from my late father. He told me in no uncertain terms (he was a formidable man and artist) "Sophie, it is imperative that you must live for work and not work to live." I think I have succeeded albeit got through many a tin of baked beans in the process!

You can keep up to date with Sophie's work here...

(all above images are ©  Sophie Bruen Ceramics)