FYI #1: Adele Howitt, contemporary ceramicist

‘FYI’ is The State of the Arts’ new irregular column. In it, we ask artists, writers, authors, curators and other amazing people to tell us a little more about themselves and their work. Short and sweet, it’s the perfect introduction to (your new favourite) local creatives.

Where do you come from?
I’m actually from Lancashire but grew up and went to school in Leeds.

Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve wanted to be an artist from a very early age – I was always making things and experimenting with pattern from whatever materials I could get my hands on.

I love what I do because…
The medium of clay is what I find interesting – it’s both incredible and versatile – many industrial components and the built environment are created using clay or clay products. Pottery is one aspect of it which I love – there’s a vast array of personalised objects – art which is considered for its purpose, expresses identity through its decoration and culture.  It’s finely crafted with often years of specialised knowledge combined with expertise in which to create the perfectly glazed and engineered object with continuity.

I am inspired by/ it is inspired by…
The man-made confluence of the Aire & Calder Navigation linking the Don Navigation and the Ouse and Humber in Yorkshire, was the inspiration to begin our collaboration. At the height of the south Yorkshire pottery industry from the 1700s – 1890s these manmade waterways transported the world-famous Rockingham, Kilnhurst and Mexborough Potteries all over the world. The divergent rivers are still difficult to navigate, and experienced sailors know their dangers. Although this landscape is a melancholy image of its past, with battered fencing and rusty cranes nature is beginning to triumph and reclaim these waterway and flatlands with plants such as buddleia, rosebay, willow herb, meadow grass and thistle.

What’s your dream project?
To see more ceramics in the built environment.

What next?
I’m building new work for upcoming exhibitions at Centre for Ceramic Art York later this year. I’m also thinking about my new work from my ongoing studies of wild nature and the confluence region. I’ve ventured into terracotta – a red coloured clay whose name disguises its origin as East Yorkshire sits on top of boulder clay. These larger sculptural pieces with dashes of bright glaze inspired by lichens will be part of The Winter Show at Studio Eleven.

Here are some links you might find interesting:


Adele Howitt’s current exhibition ‘The Winter Show’ is on at Studio Eleven Gallery in Hull until the 12th January 2020. The show includes contemporary ceramics by Julie Massie and Adele Howitt, displayed alongside paintings by Deborah Grice and Myles Linley. The Winter Show marks the finale of the Studio Eleven ten-year celebrations of creative residence on Humber Street in Hull. Free entry.