Teabowl (2021.3)

Catalogue Record



Rebecca Appleby



Made in





Dark grey stoneware teabowl with a black craze glaze.

Materials and techniques

Teabowl made from Ashraf Hanna White Scarva Clay; Handbulit; Fired to stoneware with a black craze glaze.


height:  15cm
width:  15cm
length:  15cm

Object number



Maker's statement

I decided to make a series of work specifically for the #artistsupportpledge that take the form of a small teabowl. These pieces are made as small experimental forms, exploring surfaces that directly fed into a new body of work ‘Grace’. Rather than a series of test tiles I thought the bowl form would serve as a way of making a beautiful, interesting non-functional object which could be offered as part of this wonderful supportive initiative. ⁣

More recently my sculpture has echoed autobiographical events. As a direct result the work has taken a new visual and aesthetic direction. Three years ago immediately following the birth of my first child I was critically ill with sepsis then diagnosed with cancer.
This experience changed everything. I was confronted with life and death instantaneously and life was never to be the same.
I feel compelled to analyse this uniquely terrifying, mysterious yet scientific experience in my work and practise.

I guess ‘Grace’ is my attempt at comprehending black whilst working with white.
I believe that art & science are closely related & are human attempts to understand and describe the world around us. I think one of the most primitive innate needs of humans is to understand the world around us, and then share that understanding. Art and science can enable each other to deepen their respective expressions of reality.
I have been fascinated in the complex science and research behind the medical treatment during this period and in my research have developed a making technique that visually illustrates my understanding.
Formally, the vessels are constructed using slabs of clay draped over an internal steel structure, pieced and stitched together. As the clay shrinks onto the metal frame it begins to wrap, chip & crack reminiscent of ‘concrete cancer’ a term used in the building industry. As the steel reinforcement start to rust, it expands causing cracking and displacement of the surrounding concrete, accelerating the process of disrepair. There are many examples of large scale concrete boulders with exposed metal rebar in abandoned structures, demolition sites and disaster zones. I relish the challenge & exploration of this idea and process in clay as it breaks many of the traditional rules of ceramics. The metal substrates and mesh are used to intentionally encourage the clay to crack. The work is then fired in the kiln and is coloured using underglaze, glaze and other materials if appropriate.
Both the form and & surface of these ‘architectural/human rubble’ structures represent my abstract expressionist interpretation of human, physical & material trauma.

I thought this was a particularly successful series of work but this piece stood out to me the most.