Burwardsey's Rachel Holian creating delicate but functional ceramics

PUBLISHED: 17:38 03 August 2012 | UPDATED: 21:42 20 February 2013

Burwardsey's Rachel Holian creating delicate but functional ceramics

Burwardsey's Rachel Holian creating delicate but functional ceramics

A traditional Japanese tea ceremony, European porcelain tableware and the Cheshire countryside inspire Rachel Holian's delicate but functional ceramics <br/>WORDS BY EMMA MAYOH PHOTOGRAPHY BY KIRSTY THOMPSON

Ceramicist Rachel Holian loves nothing more than spending hours on her potters wheel. The 29-year-old, who lives in Buwardsley, creates pieces collectors clamour for. She exhibits and sells her work across the country and internationally her work was sold at the New York International Gift Fair. But no matter how much she talks about her love of being creative, it is also just about the basic need to get messy.

She said: I love the honesty of the creative process with ceramics. Every fingerprint you put into a piece can be seen, every groove can be felt and every mark cannot be hidden.

But I also have to admit, I love getting messy. When I was little I used to love making mud pies in the garden and I think I get the same feeling of that fun with the clay now.

It was when Rachel was a pupil at St Nicholass Catholic High School in Northwich that her love for art was sparked. She then honed her skills in ceramics at Mid-Cheshire College and Manchester University.

She spent time as a volunteer teaching adults with mental health issues at Bridgewater Mill in Salford. In return she was able to use the kiln. She now teaches art and design at Deeside College and produces her work in her own studio at home.

Rachel was inspired by the art of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and techniques used in European porcelain tableware. But a key element of her work comes from the countryside she is surrounded by in Buwardsley. Many of her ceramics feature delicately drawn wildlife including birds and crickets.

She said: I saw a tea ceremony set up at the British Museum and I was captivated. Each item used is beautifully made and you can appreciate the skill and quality of each of them. Its about finding beauty in imperfection. Imperfect things have the most character.

I wanted to put my own stamp on this ceremony with my own designs. I love birds and I love the countryside in Cheshire. Im very much inspired by it. Where I live is very rural, its absolutely beautiful. I wanted to produce pieces for other people to enjoy.

Rachel makes her intricate items on her potters wheel in her own studio. She paints images which she has made into transfers to be put onto the pots. She also glazes them and fires them in her kiln four times. She produces everything from tea and coffee sets, tea caddies, ornamental spoons, sake cups, small pots and vases. Pieces can take two weeks to make.

She said: I appreciate its not the most economical way to produce work but I really enjoy each separate process. Im not interested in mass commercial success. I want to produce one-off pieces that people really enjoy owning.

My pots may look delicate too but they are very usable because I want them to be that way. I want them to give pleasure to the people who own them and for them to be used everyday but for them also to feel special.

People really seem to get my work which makes me really happy. Buwardsley is such an inspiring place to be. Its really and I love being here.

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