About Me - Katy O'Neil Handmade Ceramics and Ceramic Jewellery
I have been working with clay for over 20 years now and have loved every moment working with such a versatile and exciting material. I was first introduced to working with clay by my very inspiring secondary school teacher who encouraged me to use all the facilities available in a very well stocked ceramics studio (I was very lucky!). After my A levels I progressed on through the usual routes, first to an Art Foundation course and then on to BA(Hons) 3D Design (Glass with ceramics) at the University of Sunderland. Whilst I enjoyed working with glass as a material my heart was still firmly with clay and I wanted to learn and push myself more. So it was on to a Master of Art (Ceramics) course at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff. This was a fantastic two years of truly getting to grips with the material and starting on a path that I would follow for many years to come.
Alongside making I started teaching in an FE college, a role that grew and grew over the years culminating in being promoted to Curriculum Leader for Art, Design and Media for 16-19 year olds. A few years ago I realised that as much as I loved teaching, I wanted to move from working in a college and get back to being creative, so I decided to take voluntary redundancy. Whilst I had the chance I went on a round the world adventure with my bloke for four months which proved to be one of the most exciting and inspiring things I have ever done. I used my photographs as a starting point for designing and making, and launched my ceramic business in November 2013.
I am based in Lancashire and in my studio I create contemporary ceramic wrap pots, bowls and wall plaques alongside an extensive range of handcrafted ceramic jewellery. The wrap pots are constructed using textured or chunky black clay before being decorated with slips. I use mechanical objects to impress in to the clay to create the surface design, which is inspired by photographs taken whilst travelling extensively. Glazes are used to highlight the texture and mark making before firing to stoneware. Each unique piece is, for me, a celebration of form, material and mark making. They will happily hold water if required.
My jewellery is individually handmade from finest smooth porcelain, black porcelain or black Vulcan clay. They are decorated with slips, impressed to create the surface design and glazed with splashes of colour and oxides to highlight the textures before being high fired for durability. The marks made on all my work are created with man-made objects such as screws and nails found on the street, or from parts of circuit boards salvaged from abandoned electrical goods. This way of impressing marks into clay is a reflection of my long-held fascination with the concept of future fossils and how the throw away nature of modern life affects the land.
I hope you enjoy viewing and hopefully purchasing my work as much as I love making and developing it. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch and if you’d like to be kept informed about new work, future events or special offers please sign up to my newsletter or follow me on Facebook or Instagram (I promise I don’t do an overwhelming amount of updates!)
Enjoy! Katy x