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#howiAMACO InstaFeature - Kate Russell

Kate Russell

Instagram: @skratchceramics


How did you come to be interested in working with clay?

My parents have always bought handmade ceramics, so I grew up with them around our home. I did a little handbuilding in Secondary school, but didn’t think of taking it further. In 2007 I opened a small business selling the ceramics of makers based in the UK. Unfortunately, it coincided with the recession and it was a rather short lived venture. I like to think I just was a bit ahead of the curve when it came to the handmade revival. I did take a short evening course in throwing at the time, but there wasn’t any handbuilding and that is where I seem to feel most comfortable. In 2015, after a few years as a Stay-at-home Mum, I wanted to do something for myself, so I enrolled in a weekly ceramics course at the local community college. I found it so satisfying and the moment we tried sgraffito I was hooked!

What inspires your work?

It’s really hard to specify, because I’m sure we are all constantly being influenced without even realising it. I love seeing on Instagram what other makers are up to, but I try hard to stay original and true to my individual aesthetic. I can definitely see the influence of folk art in my work, also Welsh culture, the British coast and countryside and, more randomly, Delftware. Before settling in Wales we lived for a while in Amsterdam. Tulips are a recurring theme in my work and I enjoy working in blue and white - classic and fresh at the same time.

What’s your favorite thing about clay?

Aside from the magic of turning mud into something that can last forever, I just love sgraffito. I am addicted to the feeling of scratching away at chocolate-hard clay and transforming pieces with my decoration.

Which AMACO products do you always find yourself going back to? How do these products speak to your work?

I use Amaco Velvet Underglazes on all of my work. My pottery teacher recommended them and I’ve used them from the very beginning. I love how the colours pop against the white stoneware clay that I use. The shades I use maintain good depth of colour at high firing temperatures and they’re so easy and reliable to use. I also use the Satin Matte Clear Glaze, which gives my pots a lovely silky texture and brushes on really smoothly straight from the pot.

If you were an ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?

Chocolate, because I'm a bit an an addict. If you cu tme open I'd probably be half chocolate inside.

If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I'm not sure about an album, but at the moment I'm constantly listening to The Potters Cast podcasts by P.D. Blais. I never get bored of listening to the stories of other makers.

If you couldhop on a plane right now and go anywhere, where would you go and why?

Canada. When I was a teenager, I decided I would go on a trip across Canada. I bought a map and planned a route, then I never did it. I'd love to accompish that dream.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

To control time. There is never enough time in the day or days in the week... and I'm almost always late for everything. I'd love to have as much time as I want to make my pottery without feeling like my kids are missing out or vice-versa.