This week we chatted to Rhian Malin, a Camberwell graduate who studied on the Art & Design Foundation Diploma, before going on to graduate from BA (Hons) 3D Design;  it was whilst on this course that Rhian discovered a love and natural talent for ceramics. Rhian says of her creations that she is definitely more of a “form over function’ potter”. Her elegant wheel-thrown vessels feature intricate geometric patterns, which are inspired by her grandmother’s collection of Willow pattern china.  

Rhian Malin, photographer Lucy Barriball

Why did you choose to study at Camberwell?
I first came to Camberwell to Study my Foundation Diploma in Art & Design and then went on to the BA Three Dimensional Design course. I’m from just outside of Stratford Upon Avon which is quite rural and I was very keen to move to London and see what city life was like. All of the different pathways and options within both of those courses I chose at Camberwell really interested me, as I still wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do and wanted to have time to experiment and play.

Photos by Yeshen Venema

What was your favourite thing about studying at Camberwell?
My favourite thing about studying at Camberwell was discovering ceramics.

Photo by Yeshen Venema

How did you discover your interest and talent for ceramics?
The first time I made anything from clay was just at the end of my second year. I was quite stuck on a project and rather than sitting and thinking I decided to ask the Ceramics Technician for a throwing lesson to see if trying the new process and material would help bring any new ideas forward. And it did!

I was hooked and quickly decided to base my final major project around throwing on the wheel, which was a bit of a risk as I still wasn’t very good at that point, but it spoke to me more than any other material and it felt right.

Photos by Yeshen Venema

What is the biggest influence on your designs?
I used to love visiting the V&A and British museum ceramic collections whilst I was at Camberwell, and I still make time to. I was always drawn to the cabinets full of blue and white porcelain and decided I wanted to make my own contemporary take on the classic colour combination. I grew up around my Grandmothers blue and white Willow Pattern collection so my degree project was focused around that, but since then I’ve looked a lot at the traditional pattern in Chinese Ceramics.

Photo by Yeshen Venema

What has been the biggest lesson since you graduated?
Your degree is only the very start of your learning!

Photos by Yeshen Venema

What is next for you?
I’ve just taken on my own studio and I’ve always stayed quite small with my ceramics because of space limitations, so I’m looking forward to working on a larger scale and working on more intricate one-off-pieces.

Photo by Yeshen Venema

Follow Rhian on Instagram and check out her website

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