With usability at the heart of each design Amy Shennan Pates creates her hand made pottery from her home studio in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
"After I gained my honours degree in three-dimensional design from Grays School of Art in 2014 I established my small creative business under my maiden name, Shennan.
Over the years I have greatly enjoyed exploring my own creative practice and working with clients to create new and exciting designs.
Experimenting with glazes is a big part of my practice meaning my range of colours and textures is ever growing! All my glazes are mixed by myself adding an extra layer of uniqueness to each peace."
The creation of pottery for the home has never just been about its practical purposes but also the beauty these pieces bring with them into our everyday lives. We can deduce from the engravings found on Neolithic pottery that the creators took imagery and inspiration from their surrounding natural environment to add patterns and beauty onto the pieces.
I take pride in continuing this simple tradition and take inspiration from the beautiful Scottish landscape which surrounds my home and often from mountaineering trips around the Highlands.
A few of my designs include characters of animals which I study and observed in their natural environment.
Amy specialises in wheel thrown tableware and vases. With inspiration drawn from the natural surround landscape, being the sweeping fields of barley to the harsh cliff faces of the coast and the many animals found living there, she creates her unique pieces. In recent years Amy has been enjoying exploring glaze technology to further develop her range of colours.
Amy graduated in 2014 with a second class honours degree in Three-Dimensional Design from Grays School of Art. She specialised in decorative tableware, producing beautiful blue and white hand painted tea sets for her final year show. Part of her studies included a placement in her fourth year with Highland Stoneware. After graduating Amy studied further under Jenny Mackenzie Ross of Northshore Pottery and as a graduate in resident at Grays School of Art. Since this time she has continued to develop her unique, functional tableware ranges from her workshop at home based near Turriff.
Amy’s work is inspired by the landscape of Scotland; “I spend a lot of time outside (despite the freezing conditions!) drawing what I see, this ranges from the rabbits and flowers in my garden to the exotic waves and cliffs of Durness. I love exploring all parts of the countryside of Scotland and enjoy sharing these imageries and emotions through my ceramic works. I want to share how beautiful Scotland is with the rest of the world.
A sense of touch is an important part of each of my pieces as each piece is designed to be used every day and so it must feel comfortable in the hands. I also like to create items with interesting or unusual textures or shapes; this derives from the desire to not only gaze upon the landscape but also explore it, touch the surfaces and feel the textures of the world around me. This notion has inspired many of the forms and textures within my usable ceramic pieces."
Amy specialises in usable objects such as tableware and vases but she also finds herself making more sculptural pieces as she discovers more about the medium that is clay; “Clay is such a versatile material, it can be manipulated into any shape, texture and colour of my choice. There are many processes to be found within pottery and I am slowly discovering more of them. At university I mainly worked with mould making and slip casting but since graduating I have been focusing on the more traditional and well known ceramic technique of throwing on the potter’s wheel. There is much more freedom with this process, I can change shapes slightly where I want and there is less uniformity which I enjoy. I have been getting a lot of inspiration from working on the potters wheel. This one process alone has many different levels I am yet to penetrate. Sometimes I find the clay almost acting of its own accord (mainly this means I am not doing it properly!) but the results can be very beautiful, flowing forms. It feels like the clay is taking me on a journey towards a more sculptural way of working.”