UCA makers shine in
prestigious craft prize

UCA makers past and present are have been nominated for one of craft’s biggest prizes, and will have their work on show at Collect 2024.

09 Feb 2024

Monochromatic Fold VI situ by ©Steven Edwards

Glass duo Joshua Kerley and Guy Marshall-Brown and ceramic artist Steven Edwards, are two of the five finalists nominated for the prestigious Brookfield Properties Craft Award, presented to a maker who has displayed significant technique, narrative, and vision in their practice.

Their works will be on show at the end of this month at Collect 2024 – the leading international art fair for contemporary craft and design.

“This year’s shortlist of artists is a testament to the originality and range of craft practice on show at Collect,” said Natalie Melton, Executive Director, Crafts Council.

Joshua Kerley & Guy Marshall Brown

Joshua & Guy

Joshua has worked at UCA for the past four years as a lecturer in glass and he met Guy, who is in his final year of his UCA PhD while studying for an MA in Ceramics and Glass at the Royal College of Art.

Working collaboratively over the past two years, the duo are nominated for their progressive and experimental approach to kiln-formed glass, which uses a modular mould that is digitally designed and 3D-printed.

Joshua and Guy enclose glass within these moulds and add a reactant, which makes the glass froth and swell to fill the void, creating exciting and often serendipitous sculptural objects with an un-glass-like aesthetic and an entirely new colour palette and texture.

Boolean X, 2022 ©Joshua Kerley + Guy Marshall Brown

Boolean X, 2022 by ©Joshua Kerley & Guy Marshall Brown

“This project started two years ago as a modest enquiry into the use of multi-part moulds within kiln-glass applications,” Joshua and Guy said. “It has grown into an exciting and fruitful collaborative practice that encourages us both to push the limitations of the process. To have that recognised and be shortlisted for this prize is a great honour and something we could never have foreseen.”

With exhibitions at London Craft Week, the British Ceramics Biennial, and the London Design Festival, Steven has been making waves in the contemporary crafts scene since graduating with an MA in Ceramics in 2018, but this will be his first time at Collect.

Steven Edwards portrait

Steven Edwards

His work explores the language and physicality of clay with a process-led approach to crafting sculptural artworks that uses traditional clay-making techniques, such as the pottery wheel, to create layered and woven forms.

“By pushing the boundaries of clay and chemistry, I uncover intriguing nuances, explained Steven. “I view my practice as an ongoing journey of experimentation, aiming to prompt viewers to contemplate form, material, and placement within the field of contemporary ceramics.”

Steven acknowledges that the ceramic landscape is enjoying significant exposure now and is becoming increasingly recognised within the arts community and that’s a lot to do with the material itself – clay.

“There's a prevalent trend of experimentation, pushing the material beyond its conventional boundaries,” said Steven. “Artists are capitalising on its inherent ability for immediate mark-making, enhancing its expressive potential.”

But he didn’t get to where he is today without putting in the groundwork.

Steven’s MA equipped him with knowledge and skills needed to pursue his career. The knowledge exchange between fellow practitioners, dedicated time for hands-on experimentation, and exposure to professional practices allowed Steven to explore his connection to clay and develop his unique style.

The winner will be announced on 28 February at Collect. The prize package will be equivalent to £65,000, including having their work acquired by Brookfield Properties and then later donated to the Crafts Council Collection and a solo exhibition at two of their properties this summer.


'Shift' by ©Ashley Howard

Also showing his new work at Collect, is Ashley Howard, UCA senior lecturer in ceramics. His work with clay takes him closer to the potter’s wheel, with a more intimate look at the role drawing plays in making as well as research into the work of composer John Cage.

Ashley will show two pieces of work, Event and Shift. Both are a combination of white earthenware clay and red reclaimed clay fired to high temperatures.

Collect 2024 is open to the public from 1 – 3 March, follow @collectartfair

To learn more about studying crafts at UCA, visit the website.

Follow @ashleyhowardceramics @joshuakerleymaker @guymarshallbrown @stevenedwardsceramics