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Posted 30.06.15

Introducing Jessica Thorn

By Sarah Packer

BA (Hons) Ceramics alumni Jessica Thorn has been developing her work in her studio space in Bristol.

Contemporary Crafts grad Jessica Thorn has had non-stop success since she graduated from the college in 2013.

Wth her work currently exhibiting at & Collective’s ‘Past, Present & Future’ exhibition, as well as appearing in the Sit Select Showcase in October, you'd think she had enough to be getting on with.

But Jessica isn't shy of hard work. Last month she also scooped the Best New Business Award at the Contemporary Crafts Festival at Bovey Tracey.

The prize was presented by Madebyhandonline, who said they were “impressed by her professionalism, as well as her distinctive style."

Alongside fellow graduate Adele Retter, Jessica was also selected by the Crafts Council to take part in Hothouse 5, a programme providing makers with the tools ‘to grow a sustainable and successful craft practice and help nurture a strong peer network.'

Her most recent success was being chosen to go to Tent London in September by Etsy – one of the largest online marketplaces for creatives.

We spoke to Jessica about her recent work and her time at the college…

Firstly, congratulations on your win at the Contemporary Craft Festival – you must have been thrilled!

Thank you and yes! Winning Best New Business at the Contemporary Craft Festival in Bovey Tracey was an amazing feeling and it still hasn't really sunk in, especially as I was surrounded by so many other talented emerging makers.

As all craftspeople will know, starting up a craft practice takes a lot of hard work and perseverance. Winning the award has given me the confidence and reassurance to continue doing what I love.  

"Returning to the college for the Hothouse programme has been very exciting and has allowed me to experience and work again with the energy and enthusiasm of the college," said Jessica Thorn, BA (Hons) Ceramics alumni.

Madebyhandonline described your style as very distinctive. What are the influences behind your work?

My ceramics are both functional and decorative, and use an eclectic mix of characteristics seen in antique metal tins and vitrified porcelain.

I have a bit of an obsession with the aesthetic and design of metal tins and want to show the importance of making by hand and the handmade culture in Britain through my ceramics.

And soon you'll be heading to London to show your ceramics for Etsy.

Yeah, I was really pleased to have been selected to be part of the Etsy Four Corners of Craft exhibition at the prestigious Tent London. It’s exciting knowing that I will be part of something as big as London Design Week.

It sounds like you’ve been very busy since you graduated?

Very busy! I really enjoyed studying here and really thrived within the buzzing and creative community of the college.

It was a busy three years of experimenting and developing the foundations of my craft, and it was great to have the guidance and support from both technician and tutors.

"It’s exciting knowing that I will be part of something as big as London Design Week," explained Jessica.

I now have a studio space in Bristol which I’ve had for about a year. Over that year I've been developing and building on the skills and work that was created during my final year of my ceramics degree. I've also been designing and developing some new lines of work and continue to explore all my possibilities as a maker.  

Returning to the college for the Hothouse programme has been very exciting and has allowed me to experience and work again with the energy and enthusiasm of the college.  

So how is the Hothouse programme going?

It's been such a beneficial experience for the development and growth of my business. I wouldn't be moving in the direction I am without it.

It's already allowed me to develop and grow my practice on a professional level, and has provided me with tools and information so I can continue to do so.

One of the most beneficial aspects of the programme for me has been re-connecting with a network of craft makers and professionals, not just in the South West but all over the country.

See more of Jessica’s work on her website.

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