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Ceramics & Glass (MA)

Ella Porter

Born in London, Ella Porter completed her Foundation Diploma, specialising in Drawing, at Camberwell College of Art, in 2011. She then studied for a BA degree in Painting and Printmaking at Glasgow School of Art, graduating in 2014. Following her BA and the GSA fire of 2014, she was awarded a Phoenix Bursary and received the NL Culture prize, for which she produced a solo exhibition. Ella went on to set up a studio in London and began working with clay which led to her Diploma in Ceramics at the CityLit, 2017. In 2019 she began her MA at The Royal College of Art, which has been supported by a QEST scholarship from The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust.

Ella’s current practice is studio based and has plans to further expand her research through residencies and research fellowships. She has ambitions to work on a larger scale through commissions in the public and private realm. Ella welcomes conversations with galleries and is interested in collaborations with those in the fields of Architecture, Museums and Archaeology.  

I am drawn to clay’s unique ability to preserve the act of making, as both conscious and unconscious moments of touch are held in the surface of the ceramic object.

My practice displays a strong relationship between surface and form, informed by a BA in painting and printmaking.  As I explore ideas surrounding the mark of the maker, temporality, trace and place, I refer to a range of historic ceramic artefacts, such as the cuneiform tablet, as well as writings on social theory, in particular Marc Auge’s Oblivion.

Throughout the making of a work there is a continual shift between layering and erasing: a conversation with the material.  I make careful and subtle interventions at strategic points during the mutable states of the clay.  By visually scanning the surface of an evolving work, I read impressions it may have picked up. These impressions directly inform the conscious actions I impose on the material. 

The end point of a work is not defined by firing the clay, as I continue to alter the surface once the object is fixed as ceramic.  I sense the conclusion of a work when I reach a place of wanting to hold onto what is left - a sense of something pre-existing revealing itself.

Garden From The Past — 2021, terracotta, 41 x 32 x 1.5cm, Photo: Sylvain Deleu
Over Foam-Flecked Waves and Pierced by Light — 2021, stained stoneware, 17 x 17 x 10cm, Photo: Sylvain Deleu
porcelain and stoneware, — Photo: Sylvain Deleu
Detail - Garden From The Past — 2021, terracotta, Photo: Sylvain Deleu
Surface Confliction – Cylinder — 2020, porcelain, 12 x 11 x 11cm Photo: Sylvain Deleu
Surface Confliction – Panel — 2020, terracotta, 37 x 31 x 1.5cm, Photo: Sylvain Deleu

‘By virtue of the grid, the given work of art is presented as a mere fragment, a tiny piece arbitrarily cropped from an infinitely larger fabric. Thus the grid operates from the work of art outward, compelling our acknowledgement of a world beyond the frame.’              

 - Rosalind Krauss

Garden From The Past is a series of works that explore the grid and the idea that the ceramic object is part of a wider network of human interaction and trace. During the making of these works I also consider the journey of ancient ceramic artefacts that have influenced me.  In particular how they have fragmented and picked up traces of erosion and wear that have occurred over the life-span of the object. 


Ceramic - Terracotta and Stained Stoneware Clay
Detail - Reflections of The Marshy Pond — 2021, glazed porcelain, Photo: Sylvain Deleu
Reflections of The Marshy Pond — 2021, glazed porcelain, 27 x 32 x 1.5cm, Photo: Sylvain Deleu
Revisiting The Marshy Pond — 2020, glass and thread, 10.5 x 11.5cm
Detail - Revisiting The Marshy Pond — 2020, glass and thread
Detail - Reflections — 2021, glazed porcelain, Photo: Sylvain Deleu
Refections — 2021, glazed porcelain, 35 x 27 x 5cm, Photo: Sylvain Deleu

Revisiting The Marshy Pond is a series of works which take initial inspiration from Gustav Klimt’s painting The Marshy Pond, 1900.  

Through these works I contemplate how we interpret the materiality of artworks experienced predominantly online.  Reinterpreting the digital imagery of Klimt’s painting, I use small component gestures to build up a surface and pattern which evoke the digital pixel.  By utilising repetitive hand-crafted processes I aim to give a tactile and tangible quality to the mediated online experience. 


Ceramic, Glass, Thread
The Minds-Eye Window — 2021, porcelain, 19 x 123 x 1.5cm
[untitled] Preserving a Brush Mark — 2021, work in progress, copper and varnish, 17 x 51cm
Detail - The Minds-Eye Window — 2021, porcelain, panels 2 and 3 of 5, each 19 x 23 x 1.5cm
Plate Impression — 2021, inked debossed print on paper, 15 x 7cm
Once a Whole Forest — 2021, glazed terracotta and stoneware, 36 x 43 x 2cm, Photo: Sylvain Deleu
Gestures of Preservation — 2021, acid eroded copper plate, 20 x 17cm

“Memories are crafted by oblivion as the outlines of the shore are created by the sea.” – Marc Augé

Ceramic and Print both have the ability to preserve the gestures of making.  I use techniques and qualities specific to both mediums, in this series, to explore the textural relief possibilities of the brush mark.  Using methods of erosion, I explore ideas surrounding the erasure of memory, time and trace.


Metal, Paper and Ceramic

Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust