We’re bringing you something different with this week’s Featured Artist – introducing Jade Gallup, 42, a ceramicist with a fantastic eye for aesthetics. Jade is based in Hackney, London.
How did you get started as an artist?
It’s a cliche but I’ve just always loved making things. Many years ago I was working for the stained glass artist, Lou Spencer. I’d left school after my GCSEs with no clue what to do and found the job through a friend of the family. Lou, a very creative and kind woman bullied me into going to art college. As I was enjoying working with glass I went to do a BTEC in Design Crafts. This led to me completing a BA (Hons) at Bucks Uni in Ceramics. I left university with a first class degree around 12 years ago and have continued working with clay ever since.
What inspires you to be creative?
I don’t know. It’s just something that’s there. A need. I feel down if I go too long without creating something.
How would you describe your creative process?
I think I’m a very visual person. Images just seem to develop in my mind. I find it hard to work in 2D, or sit down and design something on paper. I work fairly intuitively and find it best to give myself some time and a bag of clay and start experimenting.
What’s your favourite medium to work in and why?
At university I fell completely in love with clay, specifically porcelain. I’ve always enjoyed making things and have used a huge variety of materials and techniques, but porcelain has really become my greatest love.
How to you tackle a ‘blank canvas’?
I use a variety of techniques, working with press moulds and casting as well as hand building. When working on a new piece I find its best to have an idea of where you want to go but let the materials lead you and be open to what the outcome might be.
What do you find the most challenging about the creative process?
Reigning myself in and thinking about whether pieces are financially viable instead of just making what I like. My absolute favourite thing to do is making new designs. In fact, I love it so much that I definately spend way more time doing it than is sensible! I feel like my brain is constantly imagining new things to make and I can barely finish one thing before I’m thinking of the next thing I want to create.
In which ways do you differentiate your work from that of other creatives?
Most of my work has a function, but I like to think its aesthetic qualities are strong enough for people to enjoy purely visually.
What are your most essential tools?
A Stanley knife, a rubber kidney and my beloved rolling pin.
What’s your studio/workspace like?
Up until recently I’ve been working from a very small spare bedroom at home, but I’ve just moved house and am currently in the process of setting up a garden studio shed. I’m very excited, as having more space will allow me to work on some long-discussed collaborative projects.
I also hope to run workshops in the near future. Something small, intimate and fun. Every market I do I meet people that are intrigued by ceramics and ask a lot of questions about how things are made.I’d love to be able to share some of what I know.
Having a home studio is very important to me as a single mother of two young children. I need to fit my work around them and working from home allows me to nip in and out of the studio whenever I get a free chance.
Do you have a favourite art tip that you can share with our readers?
When I was at university I was lucky enough to have Neil Brownsword as a tutor. I remember chatting with him one day when I was having a creative wobble, not knowing what I wanted to make or why and he said to me “Just make something and think about what it means afterwards”. Great advice. There’s a lot to be learnt from just making what pops into your head then looking at it after and figuring it out. I would also say, just experiment. As much as you possibly can.