Practitioner Focus: Helen Scribbans

What creative project are you currently working on?

I am currently working on producing a range of Raku fired ceramic pieces readiness for Christmas craft fairs and galleries. All my work has had its first, bisque firing and I’m in the process of applying the Raku glazes. This is my least favourite part of the ceramic process, I think because I don’t see the results of the glaze until the Raku firing and also having had many glaze disasters in the past. I’m not a very confident painter and don’t feel like I am good with colour so I tend to stick to only 2 colours of glaze now; turquoise and white. I find limiting the colour palette stops me thinking too much about what colours to use! I’ll be glad when the glazing is done so I can get on with the exciting part  - the Raku firing. 

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How does your creative process work?

I usually start with a shape I like and this is the most important aspect of my ceramics. This could be inspired by anything from a sculpture to a piece of clothing. I then try and adapt the shape to make a vessel out of clay. I really enjoy the construction or engineering of a piece of pottery which I think comes from my love of dressmaking. I get great satisfaction from fitting 2D pieces together to make 3D shapes. 

What tools or materials could you not live without?

Clay and my pottery tools.


Where do you search for creative inspiration?

I attend as many exhibitions, workshops and courses as I can and take inspiration from many different arts and crafts, especially 3D work. I also like looking at other people’s work to see how they have made something, then seeing if I can use that technique to fit in with my own work. I find that one art or craft informs another so as long as I am creating something, I rarely run out of ideas of what to make.

What is the best piece of creative advice you have been given?

Focus on one technique and do it well.