Shannon Donovan
Cowcumbers Studio
Kington, England



Artist Statement
I think of my practice as a process of visual translation, analogous to translating text from one language into another. My work blurs the boundaries between outdoors and indoors, refined and vernacular, industrial and homespun, and craft and art.

Studio Description
Cowcumbers is a sweet little shed at the bottom of my garden where a lot of ideas become reality.

What type of clay do you use?
My current favorites are Scarva's ES40 handbuilding clay and Valentine Clay's parian body and slip.

What temperature do you fire to?
1220–1240° C (cone 6 to 7)

What is your primary forming method?
Handbuilding and slipcasting

What is your favorite surface treatment?
Oxides and a range of tried-and-true glazes that bring out the best in my work.

Do you make any of your own tools?
I often create templates to establish the profile, size, and shape of my pieces in advance.

What one word would you use to describe your work?

What is your favorite thing about your studio?
That it's in my very own backyard.

What is the one thing in your studio you can’t live without?
Natural light

What are your top three studio wishes?
Three-phase electrics, unlimited storage space, and a cleaner.

What’s on your current reading list?
Flâneuse, by Lauren Elkin

How do you save money on materials and supplies?
I keep my eye out for sales and specials.

How do you recharge creatively?
I take long weekends in big cities and walk, walk, walk.

Do you have any DIY tips for studio efficiency?
To the extent possible, think before you make.

What challenges have you given yourself to overcome?
To always, always, always strive to become a better maker, and not be content with 'good enough'—but also to know when a piece is finished.

What did your first piece look like?
It was a huge handbuilt teapot that was definitely sculptural rather than functional!

What ceramic superpower would you have and why?
I'd magic the unexpected cracks away and salvage all those beautiful pieces that were never meant to be lost.

Who is your ceramic art mentor and why?
My many ceramics friends in Herefordshire and South Wales are a constant source of support and help.

What is your studio playlist?
On Sunday mornings, BBC Asian Radio plays Bollywood classics. Dancing and clay do mix!

Why do you create art?
Because making expands my world, and there's nothing I love more than making with clay.

What is your best studio tip?
Keep your workspace tidy and clean; it saves time and your health in the long run.

If you could change one property of clay, what would it be?
It would always be the right consistency to defy gravity when I need it to.

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