As I traversed the ruin, I found myself constantly looking upwards. I was fascinated by the natural roof that formed above the walls, the weaving and layering of branches and sunlight. The power of these upward views and the gravitas of the towering walls sheltered and often dominated by the ivy was another other-worldly experience, an element that I would go on to frame through my research project.
My initial observations became centralised around the various floating fireplaces and chimney cavities within the ruin, manifesting into a spatial exploration of "living within the flue", once a vital part of the inhabitants’ daily lives. I progressed through various iterations, with the design eventually venturing underneath the ruin rather than through it to preserve its ruderal beauty, framing those upward views throughout my intervention and allowing the ongoing decay.
With my initial observations having been centred in heat, smoke, and fire, as well as taking on inspiration from the ornate tiled craftsmanship of those fireplaces, I gravitated towards ceramics as fitting purpose for the future of Nettleham Hall.
Thus, my project became an exploration of the needs of ceramists, the constraints and challenges of subterranean architecture, and the balance between the towering ruin, and its new, stereotomic counterpart. Heavily reliant on hand-drawing as a medium for my iterative design process, my work ventures from metalwork to painting. I believed that the creativity in the delivery of this project should mimic the creativity that would be found within the ceramics workshop. As a practitioner who continuously finds themselves torn between spatial design and fine-art practices, this project bridges the gap between the two.