Photography by Ali Green
In a modest little studio at the bottom of her garden, you’ll find Julia Crimmen busy at her throwing wheel or painting details onto her delicate porcelain creations. Julia is a ceramic artist whose whimsical work draws inspiration from the Cornish Coast and the hedgerows that grow by her home in the village of Porkellis. Her stoneware mugs, porcelain animals and hand thrown planters perfectly capture the spirit of Cornish design…
STARTING OUT IN CERAMICS
In 2006 I signed up for a Diploma in Art & Design at Falmouth University, as a mature student. At first, I thought I would be a print maker, as I loved the process. But in the final term, I discovered a bag of clay in the Marine School and I was hooked. I followed this course with two years of General Ceramics at Truro College and some wonderful intensive courses with local experts such as Jack Doherty, Linda Bloomfield and Richard Phethean.
MY GARDEN STUDIO
The stroll to my garden studio is the perfect commute and I can often be found working in the early morning in my pyjamas. It’s not really a 9-5 type of career but having the studio at home means I can pop out and load the kiln in between jobs around the house. A couple of years ago, we built another little ‘show shed’ here the garden, which I use to display finished pieces (open to the public by appointment). But, no matter how much space I have, I still end up with work drying in the kitchen!
MY CREATIVE PROCESS
I use a sketchbook to design new shapes, but I’m also influenced by the ceramics I use every day. I’ve got certain cups and mugs I like to use for certain drinks or certain times of day. Am I the only one who does this? Maybe I’m a bit odd, but I like to make a variety of different shaped vessels: shapes that feel comfortable in your hand, handles that can hold more than one finger, and tactile glazes and textures.
THE INFLUENCE OF CORNWALL
This county inspires me a lot. I’m always much more creative after a good walk along the coast and my porcelain pieces have textures and colours inspired by these strolls. The local stoneware clay I use gives me the freedom to make larger pieces and with that comes a looser style of decoration. The rich indigo blue and white designs I create really reflect coastal living and I hope my work shows the joy I feel creating it.
MY FAVOURITE PLACE
My family ran the farm at Church Cove in Gunwalloe for over 50 years, so growing up there means it will always be a very special place for me. My husband and I were married in the church on the beach and we have lots of lovely memories of family holidays there. Rain or shine, it’s a very beautiful place.
CORNWALL IS FULL OF TALENT
I love Sarah Eddy’s beautiful paintings, with their rich colours, her coastal images are just stunning. Lin Lovekin makes the most gorgeous wicker baskets, lampshades and homewares. Sarah Drew’s jewellery is just lovely, and Amy Cooper’s amazing porcelain lighting is a real reflection of our gorgeous county.
You can find Julia’s work in a number of galleries, such as Four Crows in Porthleven, The Penwith Gallery in St Ives and Circa 21 in Penzance. You can also browse her work online: juliacrimmenceramics.co.uk