Kate Malone is a ceramic artist from London in the UK. She is a master potter and makes large scale clay artworks inspired by natural forms such as fruits and vegetables. Kate Malone is well known for her clay work and she has appeared as an expert judge on the BBC show ‘The Great Pottery Throwdown’.
Kate Olivia Malone MBE is a British artist who was born in London in 1959 – can you work out her age? Malone is a well known and respected ceramicist who makes very large sculptural artworks out of clay. She is inspired by the organic shapes, textures and colours of natural forms such as fruit and vegetables. If you look at Kate Malone’s artworks, you can instantly recognise some food that you might have even eaten yourself!
What words could you use to describe the pineapple sculpture? Try to think of 5 different words.
Kate Malone takes inspiration from natural or ‘organic’ forms – these are things that are not man-made. Although Malone often makes pots or vessels, they are not functional and are purely decorative. She is passionate about making highly decorative objects that are rich in colours and textures.
10 facts about Kate Malone:
- Malone was born on the 29th January 1959 in London.
- She has studied art at the Bristol Polytechnic and The Royal College of Art.
- Her clay artwork is inspired by organic forms such as fruit and vegetables.
- She works in three different areas of clay: Decorative Arts, Public Artworks and Glaze Research.
- Working by hand is very important to her.
- Kate Malone’s clay artworks are on display in a number of public locations, so people can see them for free.
- Malone also has work in museum exhibitions, including Manchester Art Gallery.
- She sells her ceramic artworks and also has books for sale.
- Her artworks are often very large scale and she makes them in her art studio in London.
- Malone said the objective of her artwork is ‘to convey a sense of pleasure in the making and transmit a sense of optimism.’
Look at the clay vessels by Kate Malone below, what do you think her inspiration was? Which vegetable do you think inspired the shape? Why do you think she chose those colours?
Kate Malone is a ceramic artist, which means she works in clay. She also researches different glazes – these are the layers of powder that are attached to the clay and heated. When they are heated, their properties change, giving different colours, effects and setting like glass. Malone precisely mixes her glazes according to a recipe, and she has invented thousands of her own colours. She is researching and creating new colours and effects all the time!
Malone says she loves this process as it allows her to be ‘part conductor, part chemist, part technician and above all, a creative artist.’
Kate Malone’s clay sculptures explore the shape, texture and colours of natural forms in great detail. She works in different ways to create the shape of her ceramic vessels, sometimes taking plaster casts directly from pumpkins or squashes. Her ceramic sculptures are purely decorative, often inspired by the full, swelling and bountiful shapes that pumpkins and other fruits or vegetables create. Some of her artworks are very small, and some are huge – around one metre across!
You can see some of Kate Malone’s sketchbooks online. They show how Malone looks at objects carefully, studying their shapes and forms, then draws her designs to work out her ideas. The sketchbooks include lots of rough sketches and swatches, or samples, of colours, textures and other inspiration for her artworks. Looking at her drawings, you can easily see which natural forms she has been inspired by.
If you want to try making your own work in clay, it is a wonderful material to work with! Here are the materials I recommend for you to make ceramic artwork like Kate Malone. I generally suggest paying for quality products which will last longer and give you a better finish, particularly with clay sculpting tools or glazes. The wall mounted clay extruder has been an absolute life-saver for my department – such a fantastic investment! Remember, you will need to fire your work in a kiln, check local pottery classes or schools if you need one.
What do you think of Kate Malone’s artwork? How could you describe it? What themes can you see in the artworks? Let me know in the comments!
DOWNLOAD this page below, for free, as an Artist Research handout to use in your lesson. It includes all of the facts and images, and has questions for students to answer.