Charlotte McLeish

East London-based ceramicist Charlotte McLeish makes elegant stoneware vases and vessels. Drawing inspiration from ancient Greek and Egyptian ceramics, her pieces offer a pure and refined take on a traditional style. Having grown up in a family of jewellers, she has always been fascinated with hand-made processes and went on to study Ceramic Design at Central St Martins. Charlotte combines five different clays and uses only two dry glazes, resulting in her pieces having strong visual unity.

Ceramicist

Charlotte McLeish

London

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THE PROCESS

Charlotte’s ceramics are handmade using a combination of pinching and coiling methods. They are decorated with slips and glazes, which Charlotte often mixes with organic materials, such as sand and seaweed. Her pieces are heavily informed by classical shapes and often include a hand-painted illustration inspired by traditional storytelling be it Greek Mythology or Elizabethan folklore.

Q&A

1. What motivates you to make?

My main motivation is the act of making and using my hands to realise a design. At the beginning of a new project I spend a long time experimenting and playing around with different clays and techniques, and from these experiments I arrive at my final designs. I enjoy getting lost in the construction of each piece and seeing a story or idea slowly take shape. Historical research plays a big part in my work and is always my starting point for any project.

2. What and/or who are you most inspired or influenced by?

I draw my inspiration from a number of sources and often visit the V&A and British Museum to sketch their collection of ancient ceramics. I particularly like creating layers and textures in my work and enjoy the accidental crackles and movement this creates. I am constantly looking around me, always fascinated by the history of an area and the people who have lived there. I particularly take inspiration from everyday objects that the owner has had a personal connection with. I think there’s nothing more wonderful than an intricately carved butter mould from the 1800s or a 17th century pewter tankard; I feel particularly drawn to the stories that these objects tell, and the small snapshot you get into the lives of their owner. I try to incorporate some of this into my own work by using found objects as tools, or by taking small impressions of my surroundings in clay and then using those impressions as stamps.

3. What is your unique approach to your craft, and how have you honed your skills?

I think having a background in jewellery influences how I work. I prefer to work on a relatively small scale and then use these small elements to make a larger form. I feel I can only really realise the designs in this way, and although I may have a small sketch of an idea, it's only when I sit down with some clay that I can fully understand what I want my piece to look like. I also like to build up depth and texture in my work by adding layers of slips and clays.

4. What is your defining or proudest moment as a maker so far?

After finishing my degree in ceramic design at Central St Martins I worked at several pottery studios and this is where I developed my knowledge of ceramics, and my skills as a potter. In April 2020, I was delighted to be selected by Hatta Byng, editor of House & Garden, and Gabby Deeming, Creative Director (Decoration) at House & Garden, as a winner of the Artist Support Pledge Tyson Award.

5. What is your dream project?

I'm drawn to the idea of telling a story and would love to do some large-scale illustration work. Whether that’s through a series of plaques, or 3D forms, I’m not yet sure.

ALL PRODUCTS

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Products 1-24 of 56 found

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  1. Cherry Bowl II by Charlotte McLeish
    Cherry Bowl II
    Out of stock
    Charlotte McLeish
    £420
    Out of stock
  2. Cherry Vessel II by Charlotte McLeish
    Cherry Vessel II
    Charlotte McLeish
    £240
  3. Cherry Vessel I by Charlotte McLeish
    Cherry Vessel I
    Charlotte McLeish
    £600
  4. Honey Vessel I by Charlotte McLeish
    Honey Vessel I
    Charlotte McLeish
    £360
  5. Honey Vessel II by Charlotte McLeish
    Honey Vessel II
    Charlotte McLeish
    £450
  6. Honey Vessel III by Charlotte McLeish
    Honey Vessel III
    Charlotte McLeish
    £420
  7. Cherry Bowl I
    Cherry Bowl I
    Out of stock
    Charlotte McLeish
    £400
    Out of stock
  8. Honey Footed Bowl II by Charlotte McLeish
    Honey Footed Bowl II
    Charlotte McLeish
    £520
  9. Honey Footed Bowl I by Charlotte McLeish
    Honey Footed Bowl I
    Charlotte McLeish
    £520
  10. Honey Plate I by Charlotte McLeish
    Honey Plate I
    Charlotte McLeish
    £180
  11. Honey Platter I by Charlotte McLeish
    Honey Platter I
    Charlotte McLeish
    £320
  12. Honey Platter II by Charlotte McLeish
    Honey Platter II
    Charlotte McLeish
    £320
  13. Bleeding Heart Yard Vessel III
    Bleeding Heart Yard Vessel III
    Charlotte McLeish
    £360
  14. Telling The Bees Vessel III
    Telling The Bees Vessel III
    Charlotte McLeish
    £360
  15. Long Meg Vessel II
    Long Meg Vessel II
    Charlotte McLeish
    £380
  16. Leaf Vessel II
    Leaf Vessel II
    Charlotte McLeish
    £350
  17. Dancer Vessel IV
    Dancer Vessel IV
    Charlotte McLeish
    £360
  18. Bleeding Heart Yard Vessel I
    Bleeding Heart Yard Vessel I
    Charlotte McLeish
    £380
  19. Grey Naqeda Vessel I
    Grey Naqeda Vessel I
    Out of stock
    Charlotte McLeish
    £110
    Out of stock
  20. Black Aryballos Vessel I
    Black Aryballos Vessel I
    Charlotte McLeish
    £110
  21. Grey Aryballos Vessel III
    Grey Aryballos Vessel III
    Charlotte McLeish
    £130
  22. White Amphora Vessel II
    White Amphora Vessel II
    Out of stock
    Charlotte McLeish
    £110
    Out of stock
  23. White Naqeda Vessel II
    White Naqeda Vessel II
    Out of stock
    Charlotte McLeish
    £110
    Out of stock
  24. Stone Aryballos Vessel I
    Stone Aryballos Vessel I
    Charlotte McLeish
    £110
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Products 1-24 of 56 found

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