Q – Could you introduce yourself briefly to the readers?
My name is Theresa Dowdeswell and I design and make ceramic lamps, tealights and other items.
Q - How did you become interested in art?
I have always been interested in art from a practical sense – I enjoyed drawing and illustrating my work at school, enjoyed art classes and making things. I re-established my interest in 2000 when, after being made redundant, I decided to embark on a journey to discover what I wanted to do when I grew up. This saw me taking art history classes, Access to Art & Design and finally an HND in Ceramics at Swindon College. I would like to study further, possibly in fine art or conservation, and this is something I hope to do in the future.
Q - What inspires you most as an artist?
Looking at the world around us, other designers/artists’ work, doodling and seeing what comes out of it, art galleries and my teachers.
Q - What is your favourite medium or media? Why?
Clay – when it behaves well it can be anything you want it to be. When it behaves badly it can be very frustrating! There is such a variety of clay available which means that one can have a very diverse range of work.
Q - Could you tell us some more about your work?
At present I produce lamps, tealights and vases from porcelain slip (liquid clay) and have also been commissioned to make tiles for a kitchen which have pheasants on them. I make all my moulds and, apart from one particular glaze, I mix glazes from raw ingredients and experiment with them to get the finish I require.
I am beginning to experiment with some handbuilt pieces which are taking shape slowly.
Q - How would you define your style?
Modern, unfussy and from the heart.
Q - What are your influences; artists from the past or present who inspire you?
Yves Klein; Barbara Hepworth; Antony Gormley – I love the way his figures are looking out and I want to know what they are looking at; Banksy – ingenious; Denise Roberts – my tutor at College and a true inspiration, she encourages everyone to realise their potential.
Q - How do you choose the subjects of your works?
It will sometimes depend on how I feel when I’m making as designs can happen as they are being made, some I have used in the past and know they will work well, and others will have been requested by a client. There are also times when I realise I’ve been drawing the same shape over and over so I feel it must be waiting to come out in clay form. I am currently trying to get from paper to clay with some new designs.
Q- How do you prepare yourself for an exhibition or a show like the Open Studios?
With a slight panic! Mostly making sure that I have enough of everything to put on a good display.
Q - Are there territories (media, subjects, etc.) you want to explore in the coming years?
I would like to explore different methods of decoration and would also like to paint/draw as well. I also would like to incorporate photography into my work, producing transfers for use on the ceramics.
Q - As an artist, what would be your dream?
To be able to work and live as an artist and not rely on another job to fund it, to have a gallery/café space for people to enjoy art of all types. To have my work featured in a publication such as Elle Decoration… many dreams, too many to list!
Q - Could you share one thing that you have learnt in your own art practice that would be useful to other artists?
Go with whatever is coming your way, it’s always worth giving a chance and you never know what may follow.