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Ceramics & Glass (MA)

Saffron Albert Summerfield

Saffron Summerfield is a multimedia practitioner currently working in the medium of ceramics. She received a First-class Honours BA in Contemporary Arts Practice from Bath School of Art (2020). Since completing her BA, she has embarked on two residencies at the Guldagergaard international ceramics research centre, Denmark, during 2021 and 2022. Saffron’s work has also been shortlisted for the Artsthread / i-D Global Design Graduate show, and she is a previous winner of the Potclays Graduate Award (2020)

Her current practice is centred around ‘speculative futures’ investigating narratives surrounding ‘object histories’ through imagined world building, both dystopian and utopian. The sculptures themselves are an amalgamation of the familiar and unfamiliar. Once produced, my ceramic creations become petrified (an anticipation of our story told in rock), a vision or premonition serving as a message to a future beyond our knowledge. Inert objects in the environment; impermeable, persistent, permanent, outliving us to tell a story of our relationship with Earth.

Ceramic sculpture 'Angel from an Antique Land' 
Slip cast objects attached to hand built form.

‘Petrified Suckers’ are a series of ceramic sculptures whose origins belong to an unknown, disguised or forgotten point in time, where, through rapid advancements in technology, mass-produced objects have quickly become outdated at an astonishing pace, surpassing the human capacity for understanding and even documentation.

The memory of their function is stripped immediately after their creation, and they are left to remain as lifeless riddles for millions of years into the future. They have become misunderstood victims of malicious manufacture.

I’m interested in objects and their potential journey to redundancy, becoming obsolete and removed from their original function, like a signpost or fossil from a time when our primary interaction was with tangible form. The importance of using ceramic material lies within its long historical links to humankind: it evolved as one of the earliest mediums for sculpting utilitarian vessels…our first steps towards generating what is now a very human-made world.

The sculptures seek to evoke a sense of nostalgia for the tactile, the organic and the imperfect. By incorporating discarded mechanical objects and traditional craftsmanship (hand-building and mould-making techniques) I aim to highlight the tension between progress, loss, and preservation. 

The work provokes an aliveness to, and familiarity with, the organic, human form and the mechanical. However there also lurks the ‘threat horizon’ of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, in which the digital has begun to merge with biological and carbon entities, posing the unsettling emergence of the surreal and uncanny transmutations surrounding the alien logic of AI.'

Collection of 'Petrified Suckers' Ceramic sculptures both Earthenware and Stoneware, Stackable Pieces.
Collection of 'Petrified Suckers' Ceramic sculptures -Earthenware and Stoneware, Stackable Pieces.
Ceramic sculpture 'Angel from an Antique land' Slip cast objects attached to a hand built form.
'Angel From an Antique Land'
three stackable pieces, glazed ceramics: earthenware and stoneware
'Petrified Suckers' From left to right: 'Hog Body' 75cm x 40cm x 34cm (Earthenware) 'Rain Gravestone' 80cm x 35cm x 35cm (Stoneware) 'Dog With Breathing Problems 2' 75cm x 45cm x 31cm (Stoneware)
Stackable ceramic sculptures, slip cast objects attached to hand built forms.
'Petrified Suckers''Petrified suckers' From left to Right: 'Rotary Parlour' 115cm x 45cm x 45cm. 'Angel from an Antique land' 125cm x 52cm x 40cm. Glazed Earthenware.
ceramic sculpture, slip cast objects attached to a hand built form.
'Hog Body'
Close up picture of two black ceramic sculptures, stacked together.
'Rain Gravestone' and 'Dog with Breathing Problems 2'
Collection of 'Petrified Suckers' Ceramic sculptures both Earthenware and Stoneware, Stackable Pieces.
Collection of 'Petrified Suckers'
Collection of Ceramic sculptures 'Unstacked'
Collection of Ceramic sculptures 'Unstacked'