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One to Watch: Spotlight on Artist Rhian Malin

Last week we heard some great news!  We found out that one of our artists, ceramicist Rhian Malin, whose work we’ve championed since she graduated in 2014, has been selected for the Crafts Council UK Hothouse 2016 programme.   The Hothouse programme, now in it’s sixth year has already helped 163 makers establish a strong foundation for their business and will be brilliant for Rhian.  Last year, in 2015, another of Cavaliero Finn’s recent graduate designer-makers, Jane Crisp was selected by the Crafts Council and the impact on her career as a young artist has been immeasurable.  We are thrilled for Rhian.

So what's special about Rhian Malin's work?

Debra and I often spend the summer months going round the degree shows sourcing aritists and designers for Cavaliero Finn and we first spotted the work of Rhian Malin in the summer of 2014 at the Camberwell College of Art degree show. The composition, of her hand held vessels, arranged on shelves in rows caught our eye. I very much wanted to handle the vessels, to study the surface and feel the weight of them. Each vessel was like a small work of art, with the surface a canvas for what appeared like linear pen drawings, some plain some more detailed others with just a rim of solid cobalt blue.   Each vessel had its own unique identity, but it was the way they interacted together as a group that really appealed. The gradation of height, the variation in weight and design, all combined to make a beautiful art installation and we immediately lined her up to feature this collection at our next show.

After chatting to Rhian we learnt more about these vessels. She had invited people to come and squash one of her freshly thrown porcelain vessel to the shape of their hands, taking part of the making process out of her hands and making each one completely unique, moulded to a particular hand. This explained their tactile quality and my urge to hold the vessel and mould it into my own hand.

We learnt that Rhian’s beautiful linear patterns were derived from the traditional willow pattern which she had ‘zoomed in on’  transforming the figurative into abstract pattern. She then projected this pattern onto the vessel, tracing the design by hand with paint using her trademark cobalt blue and mirroring the traditional blue on white of the willow range. This merging of traditional and contemporary particularly appealed to both Debra and I and is a feature her work shares with many of Cavaliero Finn’s artists.

Since being drawn to Rhian’s hand held vessels, we have featured many of her beautiful blue and white ceramics in our shows. We recently commissioned her to create a bespoke set of contour bottles for a client, shown above.

Cavaliero Finn will very much look forward to the impact that the Crafts Council Hothouse programme will have on her development as a young artist, it’s definitely a case of watch this space with Rhian’s work but then we always knew it would be.