Central Saint Martins Short course exhibition series.
We interviewed ceramicist and specialist technician Simeon Featherstone about his work in the exhibition, where he finds inspiration and his advice for aspiring creatives.
What short courses do you teach?
How and why did you become a ceramic practitioner?
I have a broad practice that involves ceramics and public participation. I see teaching and education as an important part of that process, especially as ceramics is a crafts subject and therefore requires technical instruction.
Where do you get your inspiration from and how do you stay inspired?
My inspiration and motivation comes from listening to people from all walks of life and finding ways to communicate and tell stories through craft. When working with different communities, you realise that everyone is different but often have similar stories to tell, or shared feelings and emotions. I try to reflect that when I’m working alongside them.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently developing new tableware for my shared practice, Parasite Ceramics. We are producing all of our wares in-house, and re-introducing more of a craft perspective. We sell tableware as commemorative pieces for the social projects we do.
Tell us about your work in the Central Saint Martins Short Courses exhibition.
There are two collections of work on display. One is for a project last year in Barking called Open Estate. I worked with residents from the Gascoigne housing estate during a period of uncertainty as the buildings were being replaced and many of the residents were rehoused. Residents helped to design and produce the pieces and we used local clay from the site to add colour and texture to the pieces.
The second collection is a commission for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and artist Giles Round. I produced the forms for ‘We Live in the Office’, an exhibition about the evolving nature of architectural facades and how we appropriate buildings over time. The ceramic forms were painted by underglaze painters at the RIBA gallery with the public choosing the designs from a sourcebook.
Which piece of creative work, in any discipline, do you think everyone should see and why?
Let’s keep it clay. So something out of the norm might be Paso Doble, by Nadj and Barcelo. A clay-based performance using the material as canvas and the body as a tool.
What’s the best bit of advice you have ever received?
Keep it simple.
What advice would you give to aspiring creatives?
Forge your own pathway. Find your voice and stay committed to it. Over time you’ll have a body of work and the overarching narrative of that work is you and your passion.
More of Simeon’s work can be viewed on his website, Parasite Ceramics and blog. He teaches a range of short courses at Central Saint Martins, including Ceramics for Beginners, Intermediate Ceramics, as well as Experimental Glazing, the final frontier of ceramics. Further details on all of our courses can be found on the Short Course website. Read more about Simeon on the CSM website.