Functional Ceramics by Derek Wilson
I’m a sucker for those intricate details, when I see imagery up-close of ceramics for example I get incredibly inspired by the handmade features. It’s particularly appealing for me when what looks quite simple and refined from afar, has real clarity and purity when seen up-close or held. Derek Wilson is a craftsman that I’ve known about for a long time, we even showcased a short film featuring his studio and work late 2011, so you can see we go back quite far. He’s always had a real appreciation for simplicity, although dabbling in more sculptural works as well, his main intention is to make objects for everyday life.
Maybe it’s just me but I have to come clean and say that I have a real respect for his functional wares, sometimes I find it hard to express in words alone why I always veer towards work such as this. I think I’ve found the beauty in everyday ordinary and utilitarian objects, although manufactured items can have a certain appeal, handmade pieces have that extra piece of humanity about them. Connecting us with a human instead of a machine, I find this is quite important in any field. A few photographs I picked out from Derek’s website below have this particular function-led aesthetic, but up-close you can see quirky details thanks to the glazing and the nature of the material that he’s working with.
Reading through the bio on his portfolio I think it’s interesting to hear him talk about “restraint, containment and minimalism”, using these words all in one sentence. I can definitely relate to this, and even though he’s contained all the elements to be precise as possible his celadon glazed porcelain and stoneware will still crackle up and make effects that one can’t explain in the firing, something he has no control over. Is this what he gets a kick out of? The fact that you can control only so much? I’ve not really thought about a craft in this way before, but connecting the dots like this is pretty interesting, maybe we can delve deeper in a future article. For now enjoy this imagery and see complimenting photographs on the Derek Wilson portfolio below. He’s a superb potter!