Frances Priest is a ceramic artist. She makes beautiful pieces with intricate patterns and bursts of colour in her Edinburgh studio.
A new exhibition
Last summer, Frances started work on pieces for ‘A Fine Line’, an exhibition that is currently on show at Edinburgh’s City Art Centre.
She wanted to create pieces of clay in particular shapes. If she could form clay ‘sausages’ in the shapes she wanted, she knew that she could cut them to the thickness she required to make uniform pieces. But how best to do this?
Frances and I had been following each other on Instagram for several months. Then one day in August, she contacted me to ask if I could make some extrusion dies for her.
Frances needed the dies made out of a material that would be rigid and robust enough to cope with the pressure of clay being squeezed through them. She wanted them to be reuseable with damp materials and not become soggy and lose their shape. I suggested that perspex would work well as it’s washable. Plywood would warp and delaminate, and mdf would soften. 3mm and 5mm are widely available thicknesses of perspex and I had suitable offcuts in the workshop as the colour didn’t matter. Frances chose 5mm to be on the safe side.
I laser cut the dies and sent them to Frances. They worked perfectly and in a few days, Frances had posted pictures on Instagram of the dies, the clay sausages, and how she chopped them up with a scalpel to create the pieces she wanted. All the photos in this post were taken by Frances.
‘A Fine Line’ is open to the public at Edinburgh’s City Art Centre until 18th February 2018.