Charlotte McLeish

East London-based ceramicist Charlotte McLeish makes elegant stoneware vases and vessels. Drawing inspiration from ancient Greek and Egyptian ceramics, her pieces offer a pure and refined take on a traditional style. Having grown up in a family of jewellers, she has always been fascinated with hand-made processes and went on to study Ceramic Design at Central St Martins. Charlotte combines five different clays and uses only two dry glazes, resulting in her pieces having strong visual unity.

Ceramicist

Charlotte McLeish

London

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THE PROCESS

Charlotte’s ceramics are handmade using a combination of pinching and coiling methods. They are decorated with slips and glazes, which Charlotte often mixes with organic materials, such as sand and seaweed. Her pieces are heavily informed by classical shapes and often include a hand-painted illustration inspired by traditional storytelling be it Greek Mythology or Elizabethan folklore.

Q&A

1. What motivates you to make?

My main motivation is the act of making and using my hands to realise a design. At the beginning of a new project I spend a long time experimenting and playing around with different clays and techniques, and from these experiments I arrive at my final designs. I enjoy getting lost in the construction of each piece and seeing a story or idea slowly take shape. Historical research plays a big part in my work and is always my starting point for any project.

2. What and/or who are you most inspired or influenced by?

I draw my inspiration from a number of sources and often visit the V&A and British Museum to sketch their collection of ancient ceramics. I particularly like creating layers and textures in my work and enjoy the accidental crackles and movement this creates. I am constantly looking around me, always fascinated by the history of an area and the people who have lived there. I particularly take inspiration from everyday objects that the owner has had a personal connection with. I think there’s nothing more wonderful than an intricately carved butter mould from the 1800s or a 17th century pewter tankard; I feel particularly drawn to the stories that these objects tell, and the small snapshot you get into the lives of their owner. I try to incorporate some of this into my own work by using found objects as tools, or by taking small impressions of my surroundings in clay and then using those impressions as stamps.

3. What is your unique approach to your craft, and how have you honed your skills?

I think having a background in jewellery influences how I work. I prefer to work on a relatively small scale and then use these small elements to make a larger form. I feel I can only really realise the designs in this way, and although I may have a small sketch of an idea, it's only when I sit down with some clay that I can fully understand what I want my piece to look like. I also like to build up depth and texture in my work by adding layers of slips and clays.

4. What is your defining or proudest moment as a maker so far?

After finishing my degree in ceramic design at Central St Martins I worked at several pottery studios and this is where I developed my knowledge of ceramics, and my skills as a potter. In April 2020, I was delighted to be selected by Hatta Byng, editor of House & Garden, and Gabby Deeming, Creative Director (Decoration) at House & Garden, as a winner of the Artist Support Pledge Tyson Award.

5. What is your dream project?

I'm drawn to the idea of telling a story and would love to do some large-scale illustration work. Whether that’s through a series of plaques, or 3D forms, I’m not yet sure.

ALL PRODUCTS

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Products 1-24 of 45 found

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  1. Long Meg Vessel II
    Long Meg Vessel II
    Charlotte McLeish
    £380
  2. Bleeding Heart Yard Vessel II
    Bleeding Heart Yard Vessel II
    Out of stock
    Charlotte McLeish
    £420
    Out of stock
  3. Telling The Bees Vessel II
    Telling The Bees Vessel II
    Out of stock
    Charlotte McLeish
    £400
    Out of stock
  4. Ravens & The Tower Vessel I
    Ravens & The Tower Vessel I
    Out of stock
    Charlotte McLeish
    £380
    Out of stock
  5. Isle of Dogs Vessel I
    Isle of Dogs Vessel I
    Out of stock
    Charlotte McLeish
    £400
    Out of stock
  6. Ravens & The Tower Vessel II
    Ravens & The Tower Vessel II
    Out of stock
    Charlotte McLeish
    £420
    Out of stock
  7. Bleeding Heart Yard Vessel I
    Bleeding Heart Yard Vessel I
    Charlotte McLeish
    £380
  8. Long Meg Vessel I
    Long Meg Vessel I
    Out of stock
    Charlotte McLeish
    £420
    Out of stock
  9. Bleeding Heart Yard Vessel III
    Bleeding Heart Yard Vessel III
    Charlotte McLeish
    £360
  10. Telling The Bees Vessel III
    Telling The Bees Vessel III
    Charlotte McLeish
    £360
  11. Telling The Bees Vessel I
    Telling The Bees Vessel I
    Out of stock
    Charlotte McLeish
    £420
    Out of stock
  12. Isle of Dogs Vessel II
    Isle of Dogs Vessel II
    Out of stock
    Charlotte McLeish
    £360
    Out of stock
  13. White Amphora Vessel II
    White Amphora Vessel II
    Charlotte McLeish
    £110
  14. Black & Porcelain Amphora Vessel II
    Black & Porcelain Amphora Vessel II
    Out of stock
    Charlotte McLeish
    £110
    Out of stock
  15. Black Amphora Vessel I
    Black Amphora Vessel I
    Charlotte McLeish
    £110
  16. Black Aryballos Vessel I
    Black Aryballos Vessel I
    Charlotte McLeish
    £110
  17. Terracotta & Porcelain Aryballos Vessel II
    Terracotta & Porcelain Aryballos Vessel II
    Out of stock
    Charlotte McLeish
    £110
    Out of stock
  18. Buff Aryballos Vessel II
    Buff Aryballos Vessel II
    Charlotte McLeish
    £110
  19. Stone Aryballos Vessel I
    Stone Aryballos Vessel I
    Charlotte McLeish
    £110
  20. Buff Carinated Vessel I
    Buff Carinated Vessel I
    Out of stock
    Charlotte McLeish
    £110
    Out of stock
  21. Stone Carinated Vessel I
    Stone Carinated Vessel I
    Charlotte McLeish
    £110
  22. Terracotta & Porcelain Lekythos Vessel III
    Terracotta & Porcelain Lekythos Vessel III
  23. Black Lekythos Vessel I
    Black Lekythos Vessel I
    Out of stock
    Charlotte McLeish
    £150
    Out of stock
  24. Stone Lekythos Vessel I
    Stone Lekythos Vessel I
    Charlotte McLeish
    £150
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Products 1-24 of 45 found

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