Organisation will provide programme of mentoring and support
EMERGING ceramic artist Sophie Jarzyna has been awarded a bursary from arts and crafts organisation Upland through its Emerge project.
This is a nine-month programme of mentoring and a bursary for emerging artists and makers who are connected to Dumfries and Galloway.
Upland is a bold, ambitious, rural-based visual art and craft development organisation based in Dumfries and Galloway.
It supports and promotes visual artists, designers and makers by developing mutually-supportive partnerships and engaging with diverse communities and audiences.
Sophie applied for the bursary with the support of Langholm-based arts organisation OutPost Arts where she has been working with Lucy MacLeod, creative director.
Her mentors are ceramics and pot maker Clare Dawdry and ceramics artist Christopher
Taylor. The mentorship will
enable Sophie to create more work.
The bursary will create a way forward for emerging artists to showcase their work and access the open studios event, Spring Fling, as well as connecting with the creative network in Dumfries and Galloway.
Sophie, 31, attended Langholm Academy and at 17 did the art and design foundation course in Carlisle, something which has served as a foundation during her career.
She said: “It encourages creative thinking, problem-solving and different ways to develop and communicate ideas.”
Sophie previously worked for EWM as a merchandise allocator and visual merchandiser.
She went on to study business management and entrepreneurship, achieving a first-class
degree with a focus on small firms.
She moved to London to work directly with founders of start-up businesses.
She said: “I was involved in all business activities from finance and operations to marketing and PR but always found myself leaning towards the more creative activities.
“I had one go on the potter’s wheel in 2017 and it sparked something. I felt very calm and it seemed to flow very naturally for me.
“I started taking a very keen interest in contemporary pottery and reading up on all the different techniques.
“After five years in busy
London, I returned home to reboot and explore my creative side.
Since January 2019, I have spent all my spare time – when I’m not selling ice cream – to teach myself how to throw on the wheel, make ceramic glazes and fire pots.
“I have been very fortunate to get involved with the forward-thinking, creative OutPost Arts who signposted the opportunity to apply for the emerging artist bursary offered by Upland.
“With Lucy’s support, I was successful in my application. I’ll be exhibiting at Spring Fling 2020, alongside fine artist stepfather Michael Batey.”
Sophie makes wheel-thrown stoneware pieces, both decorative and functional. The decoration is inspired by mid-century textiles and product design as well as my love for 1960s and 1970s music, fashion and print.
“I enjoy making something with my hands, it’s tangible; I hate being at a desk or com-
“It’s therapeutic but comes with many challenges, which I thrive on, and there are infinite opportunities to learn.
“The practice has been around for millennia and is organic. It can take weeks to make one pot; there are many stages in the making process.”
Follow Sophie on Instagram sophiejarceramics