Stoneware with grog, underglaze, decorative slips and clear glaze
H. 14.5 x w. 11.5 x d. 11.5 cm
About Samuel Beresford-Zahra
"My work is often sparked by elements of our urban environment weathered, worn, and damaged surfaces. I draw inspiration from the unintended beauty that emerges amidst the grit and chaos of city life, weaving together elements of abstract painting, architectural forms, and the intricate patterns of nature. I am drawn to the unintentional marks and imperfections that time and use bestow upon spaces and objects. "
"Through the medium of ceramics, I seek to convey the essence of these gritty urban surfaces, capturing their complex interplay of form, colour, and texture. Each piece tells a story of the metropolis, its relentless evolution, and the layers of history etched into its streets and buildings."
"My work is a dialogue between the resilience of urban life and the natural world that perseveres within it. It is an exploration of contrasts, where the rough and worn harmonise with the elegant and refined. "
"In my ceramics, I invite viewers to embark on a sensory journey that transcends the mundane, inviting them to find beauty in the overlooked and unintentional. My pieces stand as a testament to the enduring spirit of the city and the profound artistry that emerges from the unlikeliest of places."
Born in Reading, UK, in 1992, Samuel Beresford-Zahra is a ceramicist and teacher who now lives and works in London. After competing his foundation studies in Art and Design at Central St Martins in 2011, Samuel went on to a BA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, London, graduating in 2014. He is now Head of Art at the City of London School, a member of the Kiln Rooms, Peckham, and a member of London Potters.
How does the location of your studio come into your work?
S: The location of my studio in London serves as a perpetual source of inspiration. Exploring the city, I'm inherently drawn to the worn, weathered, and degraded elements within the urban landscape. I capture these moments and revisit the images as I create. Urban spaces' evolution, decay, and constant repair intrigue me, reflected in my fascination with details like peeling paint, layered billboard posters, road markings, and the haphazard patchwork of road surfaces.
Do you plan each piece in advance or do they develop intuitively?
S: My approach involves a fluid and intuitive process. Rarely are pieces entirely planned; often, I envision a piece mentally or create a rough digital sketch. The making process guides the development of the pieces, allowing them to evolve. My inspiration frequently stems from my collection of photographs of the city, influencing my work as it unfolds.
How important is tactility to your work?
S: I have always been drawn to works that have a sense of touch. The significance of tactility in my work has been a consistent driving force. I originally studied Fine Art at University where my focus centred on mixed media sculpture, I've since gravitated towards ceramics. Engaging physically with materials has always been a source of joy, and the adaptability of clay allows me to manipulate diverse surfaces.
Can you tell us more about the work featured in our Winter Exhibition?
S: The pieces that I have presented for the Winter Exhibitions are from my Layered series. A body of work focused on building tactile layers with washes of colour over uneven and irregular forms. Texture has been added using grog (ground-up ceramic material that is usually mixed in with clay for stability) to the outer surface as a textural element. Colour has been built up in washes of coloured slip and underglaze; brush marks have been diluted by spraying the wet colour upon application.
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