Antonia Salmon

I was brought up in a household dedicated to modern sculpture and architecture, and my childhood was infused with an awareness of form and space. This is the abiding focus of my work in ceramics.

An interest in landscape and archaeology first led me to study Geography & Geology at Sheffield University and then to train in Ceramics at Harrow School of Art. I spent a year travelling and painting in the Middle East and India before setting up the first workshop in London, in 1985. In 1989 I moved to Sheffield to be closer to the rivers and moorlands, which are an important inspirational resource. Since then I have exhibited in Britain and internationally, lectured in ceramics and run workshops.

The forms I am most drawn to have clarity of line or strong underlying geometry. I am greatly inspired by the landscape and natural forms, archaeological artefacts and 20st century sculpture. I walk, I look and listen attempting to sense the world around me free from preconception, and it is this that feeds my creative process. These are not conceptual sculptures – they are made as a result of instinctive engagement. Making is my way of learning about the world around me.

All my sculptures are abstract forms. They attempt to capture essences of seemingly opposite qualities: such as of chaos and order, of holding and letting go, of stillness and dynamism. I aim for these qualities in my work as it gives each piece the sense of inner energy which I hope resonates in a non literal way with the viewer.

There is a natural rhythm to the transformation from soft clay to the finished hollow form. The relatively slow speed of hand building means that the emerging form is always in process. Each work is hand burnished many times and the finished surface may be subtly textured. There is a ritual nature to the burnishing and this is repeated when the sculptures are offered to the smoke firing kiln. The low technology aspect of my working process is something I relish, because it generates a simplicity, order and quietness. The smoke fired finish combined with the bold shapes may produce a translucent and timeless sense. I hope that each work appears to sit lightly and with poise.

My work is represented in private and public collections throughout the UK, Europe, USA, Japan and China.

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