Victoria Eden, ceramics, pottery, installation, exhibition, clay, craft, art
Two years spent teaching English for V.S.O. in Thailand during the time of the Vietnam war changed my life and on returning to England in 1974 I was determined to use my freedom to study art and ceramics. Thus I became one of the very last students at Lancaster School of Art to enrol on a ceramics course that ostensibly supported the Hornsea Pottery factory which had recently been established in the area. In practice it was a studio pottery course that taught a Leach inspired approach to ceramics.
My experience in the Far East led me to reject Leach’s Korean and Chinese influences. How could I aspire to an aesthetic that far Eastern makers are born to? How could I avoid pastiche? I turned to the roots of European pottery and became enthused by the directness and honesty of slipware; at the same time I was highly influenced by William Morris whose work I had read in Thailand, thanks to the excellent British Council library in Bangkok.
Slipware was of little interest to potters at that time. Shiny glazes were unpopular and technical information was unavailable in books. Despite this I established my first pottery in 1976 and gradually as the tide of opinion turned the work began to sell. Five years later I met and married Michael Eden and together we made slipware, put together a home and raised our two daughters.
In the 30 years between 1976 and 2006 we established the workshop at Parkside, exhibited pots, sold to small galleries and major department stores, ran courses and in 1999 published a book on international contemporary slipware, 'Slipware: Contemporary Approaches' which in turn led to us co-curating “The Snake in The Garden’ an 18 month touring exhibition of the best of contemporary slipware from around the world. By this time we had both become interested in a wider approach to ceramics, which for me meant exploring concepts using handbuilt ceramic forms.
In 2006 Michael started a research degree and I returned to teaching. For a while I focused more on drawing than ceramics until I was moved by the cockle pickers tragedy, which took place close to our home, to start making the 40metre long installation ‘February 5th 2004’. This work was last shown in 2014 and has now entered its final phase in which it is gradually being returned to the sea. This process will continue until 2027.
I left teaching at the end of 2011 and, after a two year period of ill health and the positive yet demanding experience of creating a new house at Parkside, I returned to ceramics. Prompted by the thoughts and feelings kindled when clearing my Mother's house I made the Beyond Words series. This work was shown in April 2016 at Sprint Mill near Kendal in a shared exhibition with Jan Goodey entitled Evocative Objects. The exhibition was very well received and led to our nominations as finalists in the Cumbrialife Awards 2017.
At the end of 2016 and up to the present time i have been working on '...that Profound and Secret Mystery', a series of pieces inspired by the Dickens quote about the unknowable interior of another person or object .