Fenella Elms

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  • bio

Fenella Elms’ work is hand built by connecting individual porcelain parts, developing an interaction through placing the pieces in formation. The shifting components form a fluid, co-operative body. The work is alive; responsive to light and angle of view.

Elms explains “The making process is a practice carried over from previous psychoanalytical work: putting all the preparation aside, attentive, available to the work’s potential, allowing and attending to the unexpected, trusting the process. The repetitive nature of bringing together many components creates a rhythm and facilitates an active trance of intention“.

“Porcelain slip is my material; a pleasure to pour, spread and squeeze. All the components are cast before building, waiting for the right stage of softness for them to work together. My making processes have developed in response to porcelain’s contradictory qualities of fragility and permanence, strength and delicacy, sharpness with a wavering softness in the kiln, before firing to a solid translucency. All the work comes out of the drive to show off, challenge, question the material qualities of porcelain.”

Elms is based in Wiltshire, England. Her workshops are “in a garden loud with birds and bees, with swooping bats at dusk and heavily scented flowers”. After twenty years of working in mental health, Elms undertook a Foundation Art Year, followed by a Ceramics HNC at Swindon College.  What started as a diversion from work after being given a pottery wheel for her 40th birthday, quickly took over her work life, as well as the outbuildings of her cottage.

Fenella is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Ceramic Review Award for The Exceptional, The Innovative and The Challenging.

Her work is written about in various books and ceramics magazines, most recently New Wave Clay by Tom Morris (2018) and Ceramic Review Magazine by Sue Herdman (2018).

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