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UCA graduate wins prestigious Rising Stars award for creative porcelain installation

A ceramicist who graduated last year has received the Rising Stars award for her porcelain installation, at a ceremony held at the New Ashgate Gallery in Farnham.

Julie Massie, who completed an MA in Ceramics at UCA Farnham last year, fought off stiff competition to be named the winner for her piece Rectangle Edges, inspired by the Jurassic Coastline.

“I’m thrilled to have won especially as the quality of work at Rising Stars is so high,” says Julie. “I’ve been fortunate to have been selected for shows such as the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2016 and Collect Open 2017, but this is the first time I’ve won an award.”

The interactive wall art depicts the fragile edges of waves breaking against the coastline, and has been designed to draw its audience in. Julie adds: “I’ve presented porcelain in an unusual way. Rather than creating a functional item I’ve made something that can be displayed on the wall so people can look at the shapes, the tonal range of colours and the texture, rather than think of how they could use it as a functional item. 

“I’m not afraid of people touching my work and encourage them to do so. People are often mystified by the material the work is be made of, and this engages them with the art.”

After completing her MA in August 2016, Julie designed her ceramic installation, consisting of five wall hangings that she had handstitched ceramic tiles onto, for Collect Open, which went on show at Collect17 at the Saatchi Gallery in London, in February. “My work explores the senses, especially touch, sight and sound,” she explains. “Physical touch is the fundamental element of human development and culture and I enjoy watching people’s reactions when they touch my work.”

The prestigious Rising Stars award provides emerging artists with a platform to exhibit some of their most creative and exciting new crafts. In addition to exhibiting at the gallery, the winner receives a £500 professional development prize.

Gallery director Dr Outi Remes says: “Rising Stars artists are selected based on their talent and future potential, their quality of work and innovative practice. We are pleased that there was such a high standard of submissions and such a range of practices. Opportunities such as Rising Stars are needed more than ever, as new artists may be considered to be a risky choice in many galleries. We hope that winning this competition will have a significant impact on Julie's career.”

The shortlisted designs for the Rising Stars award will be on display at the New Ashgate Gallery until Saturday 15 April.