Meet The Maker – Alex Cooke

Alex Cooke - ceramicist

Alex Cooke - ceramicist

The visual language of Alex’s artwork is achieved through an understanding of the tradition and processes employed within an industrial context. Imagery has historical context suggesting bygone ages; her work is a contemporary approach within a traditional context.

Blue flower cup and saucer

Blue flower cup and saucer

Alex’s interest in the history of British pottery including Wedgwood and Spode has had an impact on her work. The introduction of tea into England in the 17th Century created the production of new kinds of cups, as they were needed to serve such polite drinks. It became fashionable amongst the Upper Class ladies to attend tearooms.

Cherub cup and saucer

Cherub cup and saucer

The pottery industry especially in Staffordshire excelled during this period with many new inventions including Spode inventing the first English bone china. Tea is intimately connected to the idea of Britishness and has had a related impact on the expansion of midland pottery. The Upper and Middle class were always the main focus for Wedgwood’s elite tableware, this factor really interested Alex; especially how elaborate the work was.

Poppy cup and saucer set

Poppy cup and saucer set

As well as looking at the visual language produced by industries such as Wedgwood, Minton and Spode Alex looked at various other artists. Carol McNicoll was useful when looking at seams, moulds, reassembling and handles. Marek Cecula had an alternative twist to traditional tableware, he refuted pre-existing objects still keeping the recognisable shape but changing the appearance.

Cherub cakestand

Cherub cakestand

Alex has an intuitive approach to making and embraces the natural characteristics of materials and there properties. Her agenda is about embracing the richness, finery and elaborate decoration of traditional British pottery. She has combined her understanding of a traditional visual language with her own twist by looking at pattern books, shape, form, transfers and lustre.

Dinner plates

Dinner plates

Alex’s work is a reaction against mass production with each of her pieces being individual, unique and also anti-functional. Her work creates a visual impact and represents a body of work which is quintessentially British, distinctive and unique. 

Small poppy cup and saucer

Small poppy cup and saucer

Cakestand close up

Cakestand close up

Heart Gallery has a few of Alex’s blue floral pieces on display so nip in and see them soon.

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