One of HCA’s graduate’s, Kim Colebrook, has won the prestigious Potclays New and Emerging Maker Award at this year’s Festival of Ceramics. We caught up with Kim to find out more and celebrate this marvellous news.

We give Kim a call at lunchtime on a sunny Thursday- as we chat to her she is in her studio sanding down over 50 handmade porcelain vessels. We get the introductions out of the way and jump straight in to ask about her craft.

What excites you about ceramics?

That one bag of mud can become anything, it’s full of opportunities. Even if you are doing things that are similar it is never really the same. Your hand is very much a part of what comes out the other end, it is not predefined.

Having recently won the Emerging Makers Award has it helped you clarify your next steps in anyway?

This award has really helped define what I will be doing in the foreseeable future. When you put in the application for Emerging Maker, with the prize being a trip to China, you have to put forward what you will do with those 3 weeks in China, I said that I would go there to look for comparisons between Jihdsezeng porcelain (as it is known as black gold) and the compare it with the development and history of the coal from South Wales (which is also known as black gold).

I have committed to making an exhibition when I come back, by saying what I will being doing in those three weeks I have actually defined what I will be doing in the next 18 months!

Porcelain has always been that real aspirational object, because it is so functional and it has been something that working ordinary people would have aspired to. During my time studying at HCA I did an essay about the value of things once they have been broken, and the way that from the 1700’s if a piece of porcelain was broken it would be riveted back together as it held such prestige. All of these things are interesting when you reflect back and pull different threads together. You can look at what you have already looked at to move into the next story.

I have got another project on the go at the moment, I am working with vulgar earth, which is a group based around Hereford, Worcester and South Wales. They are politically led campaigning artists, we are working with the university of South Hampton, looking at research that they are doing about the imbalance of PH levels in the water and how it is harming/destroying corals, we will be creating an exhibition that interprets scientific work into an artistic demonstration (in May next year), it is exciting as the result could be totally different to my current work, it might even have colour in it!

What advice would you give to people thinking about joining HCA?

Just go for it! Spend as much time as you can doing, playing, reading and thinking. Don’t hesitate to use the opportunities that are there, use the technical demonstrators as much as possible, use the workspaces. Creativity is always there so get back and use it!

Do you have a fond memory of HCA that you would like to share?

It was when I was doing my foundation, it was the first time I had used the ceramics workshop and we were doing a project on the bystander effect. The technical demonstrators there at the time was really helpful, it was the first time I had felt comfortable and that I created something that had worked and that I was proud of. It gave me the confidence to carry on doing ceramics and playing with this medium, not thinking that I had to create functional items, they can be abstract forms, and they can carry many stories. The project back in my foundation portfolio course was a key point for me.

Prestigious Award for Kim