Potter Luciene Calabria from 42Pots discusses how the work of the Pre-Raphaelites influences her own craft.

  • Peacock and bird carpet c.1800s

    Peacock and bird carpet c.1800s

    © William Morris Gallery, London Borough of Waltham Forest

It’s a great joy to see a well curated exhibition at Tate linked to the Arts and Crafts movement. As we still face the same mass production versus crafts dilemma, the exhibition is extremely relevant and modern to present times. 

As a designer, I’m particularly interested in the Arts and Crafts movement. Having William Morris’s design and style as a great font of inspiration for my work, I was delighted to visit the Paradise Room and in particular to see the massive Peacock and Bird carpet. The way Morris cleverly transforms nature and organic forms into rhythmic patterns and how details are meticulously explored and combined into an exuberant carpet is very appealing. This amazing feast to the eyes is complemented by realising all the fine craft skills applied to its making.

The combination of Morris’s symmetric design and careful selection of colour with the high quality of the hand-knotted technique and the use of three natural dyes process to create the colour palette makes this piece a remarkable Arts & Crafts treasure.

My ceramic pieces are inspired by Nature and botanical motifs in particular. I’m interested in exploring textures and concentric patterns found in Nature when decorating my pots. I’m interested in pushing the boundaries of how abstract these textures can be and still maintain an organic appeal. This is where I modestly see a fair co-relation between my work and that of William Morris. 

On my creative process, my aesthetic ideas are applied to a body of clay and challenged by the firing and the glazing technique until a piece finally comes out of the kiln to my joy and pleasure!

I’m confident we 21st century makers can still endorse what Morris vehemently defended, that a designer not only must understand the medium and be true to its materials, but also derive pleasure from the labour involved in producing objects. Indeed Mr Morris, we are here to testify it and to keep the arts, the crafts and the pleasure alive. 

Luciene Calabria from 42Pots is a London-based potter that creates functional stoneware pieces adding a touch of Nature to them. You can see her work at Late at Tate Britain on Friday 7 December 2012.

Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde is at Tate Britain until 13 January 2013.