Dylan Bowen

Renowned for his loosely thrown monochromatic work, Dylan Bowen is a well-established slipware potter. Having trained at the Shebbear Pottery in north Devon and Camberwell School of Art in London, Dylan and his partner Jane Bowen, who is also a potter, now work from their studio in Oxford. For Dylan, the making and decorating process blend together so that the spontaneity and energy invested in the creative process are embodied in the finished piece.

Ceramicist

Dylan Bowen

South East England

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THE PROCESS

Dylan’s wheel thrown and hand-built works are a balance between traditional painting and ceramics. Inspired by music and abstract expressionism, he pours, trails and brushes slip – a liquid form of clay – onto his pieces. Each bottle is created using a combination of wheel thrown and hand-built elements. Dylan prefers to simplify his approach to applying slip and focus on gestural mark-making.

Q&A

1. What motivates you to make?

A combination of things motivate me to make – a lot of them are fairly practical and unexciting, but two are recurring. Firstly, solving problems (both practical and aesthetic), and secondly, questioning how to penetrate the fog of the future. How does something go together? How do I make my materials do what I want them to at each stage? How can I find out what is not working and make it work? Where am I going? I can’t imagine these concerns ever going away, but I have learnt how to work at them, if not perhaps solve them.

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

The two biggest influences on my work are my Dad (Clive Bowen) and my wife (Jane Bowen). Both are slipware potters and I feel most of what I am able to do is built on the foundations of what they have already done. I think after a while you accumulate so many influences that they form a kind of stew in which it is harder to extract specific ingredients. I know I am constantly looking at marks, whatever the source, and sometimes that becomes distracting. Rather than enjoying the work, my first thought is, can I use this? Can this be mine? Can I use this emotion? Like a vampire!

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

I don’t have a unique approach, I don’t think. I have eventually learned that I need to turn up for things to happen, and my approach is now as steady and undramatic as I can make it.

I sometimes wonder what skills I have acquired. I suppose the main skill I am working on is knowing when to leave things alone. I am more interested in what I can get away with, testing the amount of skill and knowledge needed in order to get what I want. And if it falls apart, does that matter? It could be great! However, slipware is both very simple and very sensitive. Things go wrong and if I am too casual, it can fall apart in a way I don’t like. I suppose negotiating this is another thing I am working on.

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

I can think of a few moments when I have felt “this is good”! I think having my work accepted for the first CAL Exhibition was a real step, as was having work in Galerie Besson at around the same time. I also gave a talk and a demo at the Ashmolean Museum with my Dad a few years back. I think there have been many smaller moments along the way, but the ultimate prize – which is to fully express every part of my being through clay – is sadly always going to be out of reach.

5. What is your dream project?

My dream project would be something collaborative in the sun. A large ceramic mural maybe. I have made a few larger works myself, but I like working with people who have different skills, who are more practical. I have been working with slipware for a long time and the chance to work with other materials, with different firing and glazing techniques, is something I would be greatly interested in.

 

ALL PRODUCTS

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Products 1-24 of 35 found

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  1. Slipware Bottle No. 42
    Slipware Bottle No. 42
    Dylan Bowen
    £220
  2. Slipware Bottle No. 43
    Slipware Bottle No. 43
    Dylan Bowen
    £220
  3. Slipware Bottle No. 44
    Slipware Bottle No. 44
    Out of stock
    Dylan Bowen
    £180
    Out of stock
  4. Slipware Bottle No. 46
    Slipware Bottle No. 46
    Dylan Bowen
    £350
  5. Slipware Bottle No. 47
    Slipware Bottle No. 47
    Dylan Bowen
    £350
  6. Slipware Bottle No. 48
    Slipware Bottle No. 48
    Dylan Bowen
    £350
  7. Slipware Bottle No. 49
    Slipware Bottle No. 49
    Dylan Bowen
    £350
  8. Slipware Bottle No. 50
    Slipware Bottle No. 50
    Dylan Bowen
    £350
  9. Slipware Bottle No.12
    Slipware Bottle No.12
    Dylan Bowen
    £1,000
  10. Slipware Plate No. 19
    Dylan Bowen
    £150
  11. Slipware Plate No. 21
    Dylan Bowen
    £150
  12. Slipware Plate No. 26
    Dylan Bowen
    £150
  13. Slipware Plate No. 27
    Dylan Bowen
    £150
  14. Slipware Plate No. 29
    Dylan Bowen
    £150
  15. Slipware Plate No. 30
    Dylan Bowen
    £150
  16. Slipware Plate No. 15
    Out of stock
    Dylan Bowen
    £150
    Out of stock
  17. Slipware Plate No. 16
    Dylan Bowen
    £150
  18. Slipware Plate No. 17
    Dylan Bowen
    £150
  19. Slipware Plate No. 14
    Out of stock
    Dylan Bowen
    £150
    Out of stock
  20. Slipware Plate No. 11
    Dylan Bowen
    £300
  21. Slipware Plate No. 9
    Dylan Bowen
    £300
  22. Slipware Cut Shape No.3
    Slipware Cut Shape No.3
    Dylan Bowen
    £280
  23. Tall Slipware Cut Shape No. 12
    Tall Slipware Cut Shape No. 12
  24. Tall Slipware Cut Shape No. 14
    Tall Slipware Cut Shape No. 14
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Products 1-24 of 35 found

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