Sotheby's Diamonds x Katie Spragg

Sotheby’s invited ceramic artist Katie Spragg to create a window display for the Diamonds Salon at their New Bond Street Galleries, with dazzling results.

Sotheby’s first approached The New Craftsmen to commission a bespoke artwork for their Diamonds Salon window exhibition. Upon discovering ceramicist Katie Spragg’s clay and stone pieces, which were presented during our exhibition at FORM Miami, it was decided Katie would be a perfect fit for the project.

The piece is inspired by floral still life paintings, and features plants that grow naturally from stone The piece is inspired by floral still life paintings, and features plants that grow naturally from stone

Katie combines clay with a selection of processes, such as animation, illustration and installation, to create work that arouses curiosity and alludes to the wonder of being outside in nature. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Ceramics & Glass, Katie has gone on to present exhibitions, hold residencies and teach both on a national and international level at institutions including the V&A Museum, Camden Arts Centre and the British Ceramics Biennial.

The artwork created for the Miami exhibition was inspired by the brickwork and wild flora Katie encountered while on her residency at Forde Abbey in Somerset. This set of three clay and stone pieces feature the area’s distinctive golden Hamstone and wild plants, weeds and grass delicately depicted in porcelain.

For the Sotheby’s Exhibition, The New Craftsmen worked with Katie to develop upon these themes, creating a piece that drew inspiration from floral still life paintings by the likes of Gaugin and Van Gogh, which would complement the selection of diamonds that would ultimately be draped upon it.

Katie applied the aesthetic of these paintings to plants that grow naturally from stone, such as Welsh poppies, maidenhair spleenwort, ferns, primroses and herb robert, to keep the piece authentic and elegant.

Katie crafted the piece during her residency in Skælskør, Denmark Katie crafted her piece during her residency in Skælskør, Denmark.

The piece was created in the space of just three weeks at the Guldagergård International Ceramic Research Centre in Skælskør, Denmark where Katie was a guest artist in residence, using the time to explore new techniques, develop processes and source inspiration.

The research centre is set in an old, converted Danish farmhouse which boasts world-class facilities for ceramic artists, including a large studio space, a plentiful array of kilns and access to all manner of materials. Katie was able to sculpt many of the artwork’s components whilst outside in the garden, looking out onto the surrounding Danish countryside.

Katie often sketches out her ideas first, before crafting the ceramic plants and flowers by hand Katie often sketches out her ideas first, before crafting the ceramic plants and flowers by hand

Katie crafted all of the porcelain plants painstakingly by hand, often using her palm as her main tool, and occasionally pressed in real leaves to produce an authentic texture in the clay. After the pieces were fired in the kiln, she then assembled them into the composition, fixing them into nooks and cracks in the stone.

To find out more about our creative installations and collaborations, and how you can enlist the minds and techniques of our makers into your projects, please email Kate Collins at [email protected] to make an appointment.