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UCA students work on award-winning ceramic installation in Spain

Two of our students have been working with artist Patricia Mato-Mora on a ceramic installation that has just been announced as the winner of the Pilar Juncosa and Sotheby's Biennial Award. The installation, which explores Spanish maritime identity, is currently on display at the Joan Miró Museum in Spain.

Also a lecturer in Interior Architecture and Design at UCA Farnham, Patricia Mato-Mora was joined by BA (Hons) Glass, Ceramics, Jewellery, Metalwork students Ben Pearey and Benisha Janse van Rensburg for a two-week placement as she created the award-winning installation, Posidònia.

Posidònia is entirely realised of ceramic components,” Patricia explains of the project which is on display at the gallery until 11 June. “The piece evokes the city of Palma’s maritime identity, taking the port atmosphere to the interior of the gallery. The exhibition space is explored through a chain made from small ceramic components that inhabit the ceiling, floor and walls. The ceramic elements have been made out of red stoneware clay which has been stained with oxides and fired in a gas kiln.”

Ben, who is in his second year, was responsible for weighing balls of clay, modelling them by hand to match the chain link template, and then refining the pieces with clay tools. “The placement was invaluable in a number of ways,” he says. “We were able to experience Mallorca culture in a more real way and had opportunities that otherwise never would have been offered to us.

“Seeing the day-to-day workings of an installation project was important. Going into my final year of Ceramics at UCA, I will have to think more and more about the actual presentation of my pieces, and I see now that serious consideration must be put into the choice of space, the lighting, the fittings and even the health and safety, when designing for an exhibition. Being put to work in a team of new people has given me insight into the sort of attitude required for collaborative work. Not only have I made great new friends, I have made useful connections with people who work in the ceramics industry.”

Benisha, who has been specialising in ceramics and lost wax casting throughout her second year, also found the placement inspiring. She adds: “The experience opened my eyes to culture within Majorca and the way that they use craft in their lives. I learnt how to work within a team to collaborate to make this piece which was very fun and I loved meeting new people! I feel it has informed me with the firing process and how I can use this in my work for future projects.

“I enjoyed that I had freedom within the making; Patricia wanted the pieces all the same size but wanted them to have characteristics of the handmade. I mainly use ceramics in my work and express my textile background by applying textures into clay. This work experience has taught me how to apply different textures using tools I haven’t used before.”

Patricia Mato-Mora is an artist and designer whose work focuses on exploring the spatial, architectural and narrative capabilities of clay, and has been exhibited globally. The Pilar Juncosa and Sotheby's Biennial Award is given out once every two years and identifies projects that stand out for their quality and capacity for experimentation and innovation.