maltings meets: jean tolkovsky ceramics | festival of crafts 2020

Ahead of festival of crafts 2020, we will be shining a light on just some of the makers who will be showcasing their work over the weekend. We’re delighted to catch up with Jean Tolkovsky whose beautiful ceramic rabbits form the lead image for the festival this year. She tells us more about her work, where she finds inspiration from and what the most indispensable item is in her studio.

tell us a little bit more about yourself and the work you do

I discovered clay at the age of 30, having never touched it before. For me it was an epiphany and I knew this was the career change I was looking for. I took a 2 year part time Diploma in ceramics before studying for a Ba. Hons degree at West Surrey College of Art and Design, Farnham (now UCA).

where do you find inspiration from?

I would describe my work as toylike figurative ceramics which evoke a sense of nostalgia, and carry a loose narrative which is open to interpretation. Sources of inspiration are multiple but I often draw upon childhood memories, nursery rhymes and fairytales, or a line or character from a novel or poem.

What is the most indispensable item in your studio?

All my work is hand built, so apart from my fingers, my most indispensable tools are probably an orange stick for modelling the small facial features, and an empty biro for making small circular marks. I also use a lot of nichrome wire in the pieces, so my wire cutters are vital.

Can you give us some teasers about the work you will be bringing to the festival?

For the Festival of Crafts I will be bringing a wide selection of work including the popular shelf figures – hares and dream keepers, as well as some new developments. Look out for the anteaters with their new passengers and a beautiful new shelf figure ‘Marsh Girl’, inspired by the novel ‘Where The Crawdads Sing’.

What are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival this year?

After a year of ‘art and culture deprivation’ I’m really looking forward to this year’s Festival of Crafts, meeting up with friends who are also exhibiting, some of whom were actually on my degree course at Farnham way back when, as well as meeting the public once more. The selection of exhibitors looks brilliant with lots of tempting jewellery as well as some interesting ceramics that I haven’t seen before.

Following the festival, can you tell us about any future designs you will/aim to be working on?

Following the show I plan to continue developing my ‘Enchanted’ series of standing figures and busts with secret drawers and windows as well as my new ‘Marsh Girl’ theme.

Jean Tolkovsky Ceramics
jeantolkovskyceramics.com

festival of crafts 2020 takes place on Sat 17 & Sun 18 October. Find out more and book tickets here.

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