Renee Kilburn

Renee Kilburn

I grew up on the coast outside Gothenburg. The colours and decorating technique I use are inspired by the Swedish coast.

In my late teens, I moved to Stockholm to pursue an artistic education. I spent a few years going through all the traditional materials, oils, acrylics, watercolours, gouache, tempera, pastels etc. But when I took a ceramic course and saw what painting on glaze was like, I went through a EUREKA moment!! I had found my passion.

In 1994 I was accepted to study Ceramic Design at Central Saint Martin’s in London. I applied from Stockholm and did not really understand what kind of course I was accepted on until I got there. I realised then that it was far too design oriented. I would have been better off going to Camberwell.

But, it was at Central that I met Kate Malone. She gave a talk to our class and when I saw slides of her work, I had another moment. In Sweden pottery does not look like that.  I plucked up all my courage to ask Kate if I could work for her. She said yes!!!

A few years after College finished, I moved to Weston-super-Mare with partner and newborn baby. We decided to set up a business making models, moulds and small batch production for potters, designers and industry. This went well, but after ten years I realised that I lost myself along the way.

After all that time spent casting simple shapes, touching clay again it erupted into these highly visual, touchable, oozing pieces. I slab build or coil the basic shape, then hand model each piece of clay that is attached to create a scene or object that is based on nature. But the main reason for the piece is in the end painting on the hand mixed, coloured glazes that melt into each other during the firing process.

I have chosen to work with Scarva Earthstone ES40 hand building Clay. This clay gives me the freedom of working with the coiling and slab and sprig technique I have developed without the fear of cracking and warping. I can be as spontaneous in the making as I feel.

After the bisque firing I apply a white stoneware glaze that I fire before painting with earthenware glazes on top, then firing again. The result of this is a high fired body with brilliant, flowing colours.

Renee Kilburn