One of our recent graduates, who uses art to explore the way we associate memories with place, has completed a turn as artist in residence at the National Trust’s historic Mottisfont Abbey, in Hampshire.
Graduating this year with Distinction in MA Ceramics, Teresa Munn, who is from North Hampshire, spent her time creating hand-held clay forms in the Observatory’s studio and encouraging visitors to Mottisfont to engage with her art and witness the making process at first hand.
Teresa says: “I first saw the SPUD Observatory positioned on the sea wall near Lymington last winter and thought it looked an amazing place to work as it has a great little studio. When it relocated to Mottisfont, the Observatory was situated in a ring of beech trees, with a workbench looking out over the countryside.
“I work with poetry in ceramic form and am fascinated by how we link memories with places. My two areas of investigation are writing with clay to produce scripted plaques, mounted on ink backgrounds, and writing on clay forms to create a textured relief. In this residency, and using the facilities on offer in the Observatory, I wanted to capture the feelings of others for this place and incorporate them in my work.”
Prior to taking up the post, Teresa contacted Mottisfont volunteers to find out what their favourite spots in the grounds are and what the place means to them. “The volunteers are fortunate to see the place in each season and all weathers. The responses helped me to understand what makes the site so special.
“Some described specific images such as seed pods hanging like Christmas baubles, sprinkled with frost, while others were intrigued by the sense of all the people who have lived, worked, loved and hoped in the Cellarium and the House.” Inspired by her surroundings, Teresa adds, “Working in solitude, with those fabulous views and just the rustle of the trees, was quite precious. It helped me to understand the memories I’d been given and to generate ideas of my own.”
Teresa is now set to take part in a ceramics exhibition at Sandham Memorial Chapel, from Saturday 19 November until Sunday 4 December, and has also been accepted for Ceramic Art London in April next year.