Megan Rowden is a material-led artist, PhD candidate and tutor who specialises in making clay objects. She likes to explore the technical side to creating, pushing techniques such as fume firing, pit firing and reactive glazes.
She is interested in creating small-sized, affordable ceramic art pieces that can fit into any home.
Megan works in her garden studio in West London and has over twenty years of experience with clay.
We spoke to Megan about her work and inspiration. Read below what she had to tell us.
- What attracted you to your craft?
Clay has huge creative scope it is a unique material in that it can be used in multiple states. As well as being a creative material it can also be very technical to work with, it takes years to be able to fully collaborate with it, working with clay is a negotiation, it takes patience.
- What does your typical day look like?
I am a PhD student, an artist, a tutor and a mother to a 2-year-old so I would say my days are very busy and I have taken multitasking to the extreme. I have discovered the best times of the day for completing certain tasks are mornings are good for creative work afternoons are when my academic brain starts to come alive. I find it’s important to understand your own creative process and work with it to make the best of your time.
- Does your product have an environmental focus?
I recycle all my clay and turn it into casting slip. This current slip I am using can be low-fired which saves on the use of electricity.
I also dry out cuttings from the garden and use them either as fuel in my pit fires or in my saggars.
- What is the unique selling point for your products?
The pieces are saggar fired which means they are placed in a container with colouring oxides and fuel to create an atmosphere that fumes onto the surface of the clay capturing the movement of the coloured smoke and creating one-off pieces.
- Where do you find your inspiration for designs?
The circular forms were inspired by Nicolaus Copernicus’s theories on Celestial Spheres as the resulting patterns often look otherworldly or resemble planet surfaces.
- Please can you provide a little more info on how your interest in design started and developed?
I have studied ceramics since 1999 and I like to push the scope of the material. Alternative firings such as Raku, Pit fires and fume firing can give unexpected one-off results which makes them exciting techniques to work with. I studied Fine Art as it allowed me to play with narratives and conceptual work.
- How would you summarise your collection in a few words?
Fume-fired circular wall pieces
- Does your work have a social impact?
There is a decline in ceramic education with only two ceramic degrees left in the country. The UK has always had a strong ceramic heritage and we need to keep these skills and interests in ceramic alive. I am happy to advocate the continued use of it in education due to its well-being and problem-solving attributes.
See all of Megan’s work here.