Ffion Collinsworth – Red Lodge Clay Center

Ffion CollinsworthRochester, New York

Red Lodge Clay Center, Short-Term Resident 2021

Ffion Collinsworth began studying ceramics at Alfred University in 2016, where she completed her four year BFA with a concentration in ceramics. Currently, she is working as an art substitute teacher and in her home studio in Rochester New York. Collinsworth’s work has been displayed in a number of exhibitions including Plasticity in Missoula, MT; Beautiful Botanicals, an exhibition of Alfred summer ceramics interns; Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, an exhibition pairing community members and artists of Alfred for a community show; and April Showers Bring May Flowers, her Quarantine BFA Thesis exhibition.

She has been a participant of the Alfred Ceramic Internship, the Cohen internship, and was the President of the Alfred Clay Collective through her final year of undergrad. In 2018 she was the recipient of the Kiki Smith Scholarship to Haystack Mountain School of craft, where she studied hand building under Lauren Gallaspy. Collinsworth is currently a rising artist practicing in Rochester, NY. In the future, she will attend the Red Lodge Clay Centers short term residency in October 2021, and hopes to attend Graduate school for ceramics or art education.

Light streams through the open windows of a cottage kitchen: a wooden table worn from countless family meals stands proud, and a row of cupboards lining the walls is filled with handmade ware. Every ceramic piece holds evidence of the maker’s touch. When my work leaves the studio, this is where I envision it living – if it were to travel far outside these bounds, it would still carry the ambiance of cottage ware. The idea of a cottage is a dream. I romanticize the idea of living in this space, with a family and a life integrated with the world beyond the kitchen window. While the work I make is a reflection of the relationship between my observed environment and domestic life, it is also a representation of where I see myself in my future.

I cultivate the surface of my pottery over time. Carefully illustrated imagery is drawn from life, collections, and photographs of birds, flowers, fruit, and insects. My compositions depict a central drawing, framed by patterns abstracted from nature. The forms I find myself driven to create are large display pieces. Plates and platters for serving generous cuisines, and flower frogs for enchanting floral displays. Wide surfaces are an open canvas for illustrations. Working with a sgraffito on dark earthenware, I use colored slips, colored glazes, and enamel paint to build layers of pigments to enliven and compose motifs.

Growing up in the northeast, my ceramic work became influenced by gardens filled with blueberries, strawberries, tall carrot stems, flowers such as forget-me-nots, tansies, daisies, and thistle. Gardens attract beetles, grubs, snails, slugs, bees, and butterflies; and with the presence of insects, comes chickadees, goldfinches, titmice, woodpeckers, and robins. When designing a display plate, often the central focus is a bird, a red-headed woodpecker for example, and when framing him there might appear a plethora of tiny blueberry sprigs and strawberry blossom patterns on the rim. My pottery creates a bridge from our homes to the great outdoors. Nature has always seeped into our kitchens, both literally and illustratively. It is the place that a harvest first touches down in the home, and many people can relate to or remember having plates and serving platters framed with floral patterns as ceramics found in the kitchen often depict themes of our natural surroundings. I hold sacred the connection that we have with the environment outside our kitchen windows, and use pottery and utility, as a celebration of that relationship.