On the move

15 November, 2015

These last couple of months have been hectic to say the least. I can’t quite believe how busy its been. So here’s a bit of an update – A lightning speed run around what I’ve been making, seeing, winning, writing… plus a picture of a strange creature from York.

Elaine Bolt Woodland Utensils

I made a lot of new pieces which I showed at Brighton Art Fair and at Made London, I made and delivered work to several galleries, I contributed to an Arts Council grant application for a collaborative project ‘Making Ground’ and, as of today, moved my workshop ‘Atelier 51’. Now I must get ready for our four weekends of Open Studios starting next weekend!

I also went to see lots of amazing exhibitions, including visiting the Potteries Museum at Stoke on Trent, the new Centre for Ceramic Art in York, the Ai Weiwei exhibition at the Royal Academy, the Potteries Friday Late at the V&A, a symposium on ‘What is Luxury’ also at the V&A, and a symposium on Memory and Objects at the Wellcome Collection. I’ve barely stopped and didn’t get to write it all down for my blog as I went along. But I have been featured in lovely online magazine UK Handmade magazine in their Winter 2015 edition. I’m also hoping to have a feature on my work in the beautiful Oh Comely magazine‘s Christmas edition.

Brighton Art Fair and Made London

The shows were amazing, I met so many lovely people and had some great sales too!  I was so chuffed to receive the ‘Best in Show’ award at Brighton Art Fair, awarded by Oh Comely magazine. Look out for the next edition of the magazine which will hopefully include a bit on me!

Brighton Art Fair, best in show rosette

Making Ground

I’ve been working with amazing basket maker and willow artist Annemarie O’Sullivan on an Arts Council funding application for a new collaborative project called ‘Making Ground‘.  We’re also working on great ideas for crowd funding. If we’re successful, I’ll have lots more news on this soon. So keep your fingers crossed for us.

Making Ground project

Atelier 51

Today I finally moved to my new studio in Brighton. It’s called Atelier 51, and is on Providence Place. It’s very exciting and a bit overwhelming at the moment but I can’t wait to get making there. Atelier 51 is the new HQ for Tutton and Young Ltd, and fellow artists and makers at the workshops are: Sarah Young, Silvia K Ceramics and Rhoda K Baker.

This coming weekend we go straight into having open studios for four weekends. See my events page for more info and dates.

New workshop at Atelier 51


The Centre of Ceramic Art in York absolutely blew me away. The curation is really interesting and the pieces on display are amazing. This guy, pictured below, is by Kerry Jameson. I also loved watching the video with Anthony Shaw talking about his collection, amidst the very pieces he collected.

Centre of Ceramic Art at York Museum

I think I could have written a blog post on each of these bits of news. But this will do for now!

Elaine Bolt Woodland Utensils

Round Robin

21 December, 2014

Elaine_Bolt_IMG_1819I was a tad busy this Autumn/Winter. If I try to put it all down I realise it looks a bit like a Christmas round robin letter – a lengthy listing of what I’ve been up to, regardless of the audience! So, no obligation – feel free to enjoy only the pictures and skip the rest! I won’t be offended.

exhibiting at Made London and Made Brighton –  I exhibited my work at two big shows this Autumn/Winter – Made London and Made Brighton. I spoke to so many lovely people and sold some of my favourite wall pieces and objects. It was a bit hard sometimes to see some of them go, but the people who bought them really seemed to connect with the ideas behind the work. Again it was great to meet up with some fantastic makers such as fellow ceramicists Carys Davies, Paul Wearing, Silvia K, Alice Walton, Hilary Mayo; plus Annemarie O’Sullivan (basket/willow artist), Emily Kidson (jewellery), and the members of the 2014 Hothouse alumni group amongst many others.

It was lovely to then take my work to Silvia K’s beautiful open house in Hove. She had curated a wonderful selection of work by talented artists and crafts people.

Silvia K's open house

visits to museums and other places

Uppark House –

I’m interested in how installations and ‘interventions’ by makers in craft disciplines respond to the themes and aesthetics of a particular place. In October, I visited Uppark House to see the work of several artists as part of the ‘Unravelled‘ installation. There were some fascinating responses to the house and its history by a number of makers in different materials. The regular displays in the house also offered an opportunity to consider how museum houses present the story of their domestic history. The kitchens and ‘below stairs’ spaces are, I often find, the most fascinating spaces. I particularly liked the silverware and kitchen utensils laid out in rows, as if mid-polish. The house also offered a thoughtful reflection on the fire that had destroyed much of the building in the 1980s.

Steven Follen - 'Trade' at Uppark HouseUppark House kitchen

Craft Interventions in Domestic Spaces –

Shortly after that visit, I attended a one day seminar event organised by the Crafts Council on ‘Craft Interventions in Domestic Spaces‘. It offered a useful insight into past projects and collaborations between museums, houses and makers. I came away still feeling intrigued about the directions my work might take, if presented with such opportunities. But it was also enlightening as to the challenges that can be faced.

Pitt Rivers Museum –

In November, I went to Oxford to go to one of my favourite museums the Pitt Rivers. I’ve been a few times and love the slightly gloomy setting and the seemingly endless exhibits crammed into countless cabinets. There’s always so much to see, both on display and in drawers you can pull out, that you’ll always see something new. It’s easy to see how many makers have been inspired by its collections.

Pitt Rivers museum - display

Institute of Making –

In December I went to a special event held at the Institute of Making. The day long session was organised by the Institute and R&A Collaborations. They brought together 38 makers from many craft disciplines for an opportunity to learn about the facilities and collection; to discover the materials held there; and to experiment with different making processes, materials and ideas. I loved trying out pewter casting, working with willow and creating objects with various plastics. These were all materials I hadn’t really ever worked with before and may well filter through into future ideas for my own work. It was also a great opportunity to properly meet some makers that I had only ever ‘met’ on Twitter and Instagram! Photos from R&A Collaborations can be seen on Facebook.

Elaine Bolt - Pewter casting at the Institute of Making

being captured on film – 

My final ceramics adventure for 2014 was to be filmed by the dynamic duo that is Richard and Arron of R&A Collaborations. I could say a lot about this challenging/amazing experience, but I’ll post more about it in the new year, when the film is ready.

Richard and Arron - capturing images in the studio

And finally… 

Thank you all for visiting my blog in 2014 It’s always worth it for me to put these things down in writing. I hope it’s sometimes worth the read! Merry Christmas and Best wishes for 2015!

Pitt Rivers Museum eskimo and polar bear

Buoys and Vessels

12 October, 2014

Elaine Bolt 'Buoys' detailI’ve been developing an idea based on buoys (the kind that are often used by boats, or on fishing nets) and particularly the broken and tangled versions I sometimes found washed up on the beach. I wanted to make something that took elements of the buoy and the open shape of a vessel. I also wanted to combine the made object with found objects – principally the curls and tangles of fishing wire and rope that I find on Newhaven beach and often end up taking home.

Elaine_Bolt_IMG_0808I made the body of the shapes by throwing a vessel,  then turning the base and adding a ‘handle’ (the results shown in my last post). The dark terracotta adds a distinctive look to the fired piece.

I then added the found bundles of fishing wire and intertwined some ceramic beads and other fired pieces into the bundle, blurring the lines between objects tangled in the wire and objects deliberately placed there.

Two of the finished pieces are now heading off to an exhibition entitled ‘Vessels’ being held at Making Space in Havant. The pieces seem quite fitting for a show that celebrates the different meaning of the term vessel.

Elaine Bolt 'Buoys'

The ‘Vessels’ exhibition runs for just a week: 27 October to 31 October 2014. You can find out more on the Making Space website.

As I was going to St Ives

On the theme of buoys, I recently went to St Ives and visited an exhibition there by American installation artist Mark Dion. I’ve seen some of his work on the ‘Thames Dig’ at Tate Britain in the past and loved his sense of making collections and forming museum-like displays from found (and often discarded or everyday) objects. The St Ives exhibition ‘The Maritime Artist’ is at the Porthmeor Studios which is an intriguing mix of artist’s spaces and working (and disused) fishing cellars. The installation featured a vast array of buoys and other fishing equipment hung up in a disused pilchard cellar. The result was a quite convincing display that belied its intentional construction. It blurred the lines between what was installation and what was real, but it blended in so well with its surroundings, it could almost have been overlooked as a piece of art. That was perhaps its intention.

Mark Dion installation

Mark Dion installation

The Maritime Artist

The Maritime Artist

Whilst in St Ives I also (of course) visited The Leach Pottery and the Barbara Hepworth museum. Both offer a chance to see their works, but also to glimpse the artists’ workshops, as if they’d just left them to pop out for some shopping. I love feeling this sense of connection with a maker, even when they’re no longer around. I think I like seeing this kind of display of tools and workshops almost more than the finished works, although Barbara Hepworth’s garden with its monumental sculpture is possibly the most magical and lovely place I’ve been to in a long time. I’ve been twice now, but could just go again and again.

Bernard Leach's workshop and tools

Bernard Leach’s workshop

Barbara Hepworth's workshop and tools

Barbara Hepworth’s workshop and tools

Barbara Hepworth's garden

Barbara Hepworth’s garden

Last week I visited Kim Bagley‘s solo show ‘Africa and the West’ at the James Hockey gallery in Farnham. Kim has been working towards a PhD in Ceramics at the University of the Creative Arts in Farnham and this is her major exhibition. Kim started her PhD studies at the same time as I started studying for my MA in Ceramics. We shared workshop spaces at UCA for two years which undoubtedly had a great influence on me and my work. I learned a lot form her use of clay bodies, paperclay, reduction firing; but her enthusiastic approach to experimenting with clay and with ideas, was also infectious.

Kim Bagley - Africa and the West

Kim Bagley – Africa and the West

The show is described as “an exploration of the artist’s own African and South African identities” where the artist uses her ceramic pieces as “a metaphor and a starting point for examining questions of identity and representation”. You can read a little more about the underlying themes on the UCA website.

The main exhibition area is filled with ‘tents’ (each around two feet high) made from porcelain and terracotta paperclay. The forms represent extermination tents – tarpaulins used in South Africa to cover entire houses for fumigation against wood boring insects. The pieces here are in places marked with text, sometimes obscured, playing with the wording used on the tarpaulins themselves, but also with the theme of identity, labelling, tagging.

Several of these large pieces are grouped on the gallery floor, whilst others are suspended from the ceiling and appear to float upwards and away. To me they appeared like a swarm, both on the ground and in the air, captured whilst in movement. Other observers imagined they were placed as if on some distant hills. However, I couldn’t escape the sense that the fumigation tents had themselves been transformed into moving creatures.

Kim Bagley

The pieces suspended above the ground made fascinating reflections on the floor in different lights. Light also played a part with traces of text and markings showing through the ‘skin’ of porcelain. The pieces on the ground hinted at animal forms in other ways, not least through their rib-like structures. For these pieces, the tents enveloped a scaffolding – a skeleton that made its presence known through the fabric of the clay and at the base. Some of them even looked like they might scuttle away at any moment on their many legs. Perhaps I’m anthropomorphising too much here, but animal themed undertones infuse the work and the scale of the pieces invite the viewer to relate to them.

Kim Bagley Kim Bagley

There are three main elements of the exhibition and beyond the ‘tents’ there are other significant pieces on show. There are two hanging pieces which are formed from hundreds of paperclay pieces strung together with silk thread. Each element is in the shape of ear tags commonly used to identify cattle. The pieces, when viewed from a distance take on the appearance of a curtain, but with the hint of a cow hide.

Kim Bagley


Kim Bagley

The centre piece in the gallery entrance uses the same palate of raw, unglazed clay colours, mixing porcelain, terracotta, stoneware. This piece represents a herd of cattle, each five or six centimetres high but, like the tags, forming a whole piece when grouped together. There is a sense of awe felt when looking down on them, as if from a hot air balloon perhaps, and the placing of the piece close to the ground forces this perspective. But the feeling changes when you get right up close to them and on their level. The notion alters to wondering if they might stampede. I’m the lucky owner of a couple of these animals. They’re beautiful in their own right, but there’s great power in the herd.

Kim Bagley

Kim Bagley




Crafts Council Hothouse logo

My adventure on the Crafts Council’s Hothouse 2014 programme has almost finished. Thirty-eight emerging makers, including myself, were selected to take part in an intensive programme of business and craft development. We’ve participated in a series of workshops and events designed to bring on our craft businesses and help us formulate the beginnings of a career in the sector.

It’s been a lot of hard work, including trying to get to grips with tax and finances (there have been a lot of spreadsheets) as well as working on our presentation skills (some drama and roll play did occur!).


Hanne Mannheimer

Alongside the workshops we were each assigned a ‘buddy’ and a ‘mentor’ – professionals already working in our field of practice, to help and guide us along the way. My ‘buddy’ is Hanne Mannheimer who makes beautiful vessels as well as site specific work. My ‘mentor’ is Katharine Morling who creates fascinating objects in porcelain forming ‘three dimensional drawings’. Both have been extremely helpful and supportive.


Katharine Morling



Aspects of the programme have acted as a kind of continuation of university studies in a way – supplying a feeling similar to having that collective experience and group of peers around you.

As a kind of finale to the programme, a selected number of Hothouse participants are now showing their work at the New Ashgate gallery in Farnham. The work on show illustrates just a small amount of the fantastic range of crafts in the programme, but the pieces on show also compliment each other really well. The show is on to the end of July, but I hope to continue existing friendships and supportive networks as well as establishing new ones to help carry on the dialogue.

Here are some images from the New Ashgate Gallery show.

New Ashgate Selects

12 June, 2014

Hothouse 4: New Ashgate Selects

21 June to 2 August 2014

Elaine Bolt ceramic & mixed media object detail

Elaine Bolt mixed media object

The New Ashgate Gallery in Farnham, Surrey, has invited 12 makers from this year’s Crafts Council Hothouse programme to exhibit in this year’s summer show.

The makers selected for the exhibition are: Jenny Ayrton, myself (Elaine Bolt !), Sarah Brown, Sue Brown, Marie Canning, Adam Collins, Katharina Eisenkoeck, Elaine Jenkins, Alex McCarthy, Imogen Noble, Paula Ortega and Stephanie Tudor.

The show runs from the 21 June to 2 August 2014. The private view will be on the 20 June, 6-8pm, I’ll be there and all are welcome.

Gallery Director Dr Outi Remes has said that this event will be a little different to their usual private views as it will also be a ‘soiree’,  celebrating the Gallery’s success over the last two years. The event will be joined by the MP Jeremy Hunt… and by internationally recognised ceramic artist Gareth Mason who will be saying a few words. Gareth Mason usually speaks energetically and from the heart about ceramics, the making process and the challenges of the craft, so he’s certainly always worth hearing from!

New Ashgate Gallery logo

Crafts Council Hothouse logo




Migrating Spoons

12 April, 2014

My spoons have been travelling. The surprising adventures of the ‘curious utensils’ has taken my spoons all the way to the USA.

One of my spoons has been selected to be part of an exhibition entitled OBJECT:SPOON 2014 organised by  Vipoo Srivilasa at Harvard University. The exhibition will feature 25 ceramic spoons of all different shapes and varieties, from 16 different countries. The show will run from 17 May to 27 June 2014.

Elaine Bolt spoon group


Thanks to the lovely Ioneta gallery in Maine, a selection of my spoons are also now available at the gallery and are currently featured as Item of the week on their website. My spoons sit happily amongst a selection of fascinating craft objects and antiques for the home, sourced from Japan and the US.

Elaine Bolt spoons at Ioneta


Its a strange thing, my tiny fragile spoons making their way around the world.  When I sent the spoons by courier to Ioneta, I was able to follow them online using the parcel tracking service. It recorded the parcel’s various stopping points from Sussex to Stanstead airport in the UK, to Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris, to Newark airport New Jersey and finally to Rockland, Maine. It was a curious, and slightly nail-biting experience, like tracking migrating birds perhaps, willing them to reach their destination safely.


29 March, 2014

I am delighted to say that my work is now available at the very lovely Ioneta gallery in Maine USA.

Sourcing items from Maine, Japan and the UK, Ioneta brings together a select range of beautiful objects in a variety of media, featuring ‘a blend of found objects, works on paper, vintage and new textiles, and pieces crafted, by hand that make everyday use a joy.’

Visit their online shop, or tumblr site to see more of their beautifully curated collection.

Elaine Bolt vessel at Ioneta

Elaine Bolt ‘Dark Vessel’ at Ioneta

Bircham Gallery Exhibition

22 February, 2014


The next show I’m gearing up for is at the fantastic Bircham Gallery in Holt, Norfolk. They are holding a ‘Newcomers’ exhibition “showcasing new artists and makers at Bircham Gallery taken on during their anniversary year“. Exhibitors in the show include:

Paintings: Stephanie Lambourne, Sally Tyrie, Stephen Robson, Helen Terry.
Ceramics: Katharina Klugg, Lowri Davies, Sarah Jenkins, Patricia Shone, Elaine Bolt, Alison Graham, Vicky Shaw.
Jewellery: Mariko Sumioka, Emma Goward, Stacey Bentley
Textiles/Paper: Matthew Harris

The show runs from the 8th March to the 2nd April 2014. More info on opening hours and directions can be found on their facebook event page.

I’m delivering the work there next week as I’ve created a few new utensil pieces and these are always a delicate affair. The delivery also gives me an opportunity for a mini ceramics road-trip to Holt via a few museums and galleries, including hopefully the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, and the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, at UEA.

Bircham Gallery Newcomers exhibition 2014
Textiles by Matthew Harris



On the weekend of the 15th and 16th of February I will be exhibiting at Aspex Gallery, Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth as part of their Contemporary Makers Fair 2014. I’ll have a range of my work there for sale, including some new designs fresh out of the kiln.  The event will be open from 11-5 on both days and will showcase a selection of designer makers from the South East including fellow Crafts Council Hothouse participant Jelka Quintelier. Aspex will also be running workshops for children and adults across the weekend.