Posted on January 30 2016
Our Artist of the Month is Michelle Freemantle, the ceramic artist behindCreatively Occupied. We have asked her all about her interests and how she got in to ceramics...
Can you tell me a bit more about yourself and why you began designing? Graduating from Derby University in 1999 with a BA in Applied Arts I didn't have a studio so combined travel with making and learning ceramics in Japan, France and Finland. I moved to the ever changing East Yorkshire Wolds, bought a kiln in 2005 and have been potting here ever since. I'd always loved art at school but at foundation it was materials that I really got into. Doing applied arts means I have a good grounding in different mediums and gives me the possibility to make in other materials.
What's your finest moment so far? Finest moment so far... getting an arts council grant, completing a 60-piece service for a couple in North Yorkshire or maybe after years of visiting Finland and being so inspired by the landscape and not finding coloured slips that conveyed it for me, finally making my Talvi series and showing it in Finland in 2014 and hearing Finnish feedback saying I'd captured the northern feel well.
What do you do when you aren't working? Being self employed and having the studio just off the house I do work a lot. Food is probably a big focus in our lives whether that's eating out or in. We enjoy the cinema, walking Winnie the dog or Jemima the Aylesbury. I do like reading but get a big obsessive when reading a good book and can devour it over a couple of days.
What hasn't gone as you expected in your career? Ten years on and I still get a buzz when people part cash for pots I've made. I guess I expected that to have worn off after a couple of years but happily can say it hasn't!
If you inherited an acre of land what would you do with it? Work with an architect to build a home for me and my girlfriend. With of course a studio, stone built, plenty of windows thats insulated and has running water!!! That really would be luxury! I'd have enough space for a few more ducks and maybes a goat too.
What is your favourite book? More Than This by Patrick Ness, even the cover of the hard back is lovely to touch.
What's your most important possession? I left this one until last as I couldn't think of an answer. Whilst walking round the house wondering what was my most important possession I came across my two Chris Brook paintings and thought these are my most 'prized' possessions. I dearly love the artwork I have in the house but I could never justify spending such an amount of money on these two pieces when there was so many other 'practical' things I should be doing with it. Chris and I did a swop, his paintings, for a collection of my pots. I was beyond thrilled. Ironically Chris and his wife Jenny were the very first people to have my work in their gallery back in 2005.
Do you have a favourite artwork or sculpture? So many things are in my brain, there under the surface but two things spring to mind, to that question, my favourite that I own and then favourite out there in the world. But then this is also dependant on time as that changes too as new artwork and sculpture arise. So to which I don't own .. probably Alberto Giacomettis' drawings. These have been a favourite since seeing them at the Royal Academy exhibition in London 1996. To which I own, Donkey by Jane Strawbridge and my Penguin Painting 'The Other Half Half' by Tom Shepherd.
We're coming to yours for dinner. What are you going to make us? At this time of year my lamb stew with cumin, served in a small Talvi bowl, accompanied on the table with hunks of pain de campagne. Followed by sticky toffee pudding, with butterscotch sauce made from scratch. View all of Creatively Occupied's products on Seed.