Thursday 29 October 2015

Adela Powell

The highlight of the Oxford Ceramics Fair this year was the work of Adela Powell. I had never seen her work before. This was her first time at Oxford - I hope there are many more to come, as I would love to see more of her work and how she develops.

From Powell's website: 'Universal patterns, textures and forms in nature, where science and art are inseparable, are my constant source of inspiration.... I am also more drawn to fragmentation and erosion, which I attempt to incorporate in my work, allowing fortuitous accidents and influences from the subconscious to enrich the process. Forms often convey a sense of metamorphosis'.


The inside of the shell has this luminous, creamy look and texture that real shells have, and I don't know how she managed it. There is a small mark of gold on the inside. She told me that it's a flaw that she decided to cover with gold. It reminded me of Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum. It's a philosophy that treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

The outside of the shell is gorgeous - I asked her how she gets that result and she said that she places the wet clay on sand taken from a beach, then stretches it, thus achieving this texture


This is the back of the shell - very different and equally gorgeous. I said to her that it was a shame that one could not immediately see this and she said that 'we don't have to see everything'. And she's right - it's like a secret, something hidden that you know is there.

So many different textures in one piece, and yet, they all complement each other without being de trop.

looking closer

Another shell

the imperfections on the inside have been covered again, with silver this time

a closer look at the outside of the shell

a third shell

a closer look at the outside.

I had a look at her website when I got home after the fair. Her torsos are divine. She is exhibiting in Bath in the spring, and the dates are already in my diary as I have to have a look at those torsos.


  1. Her work certainly looks rather special. Those shells would be wondrous to live with.

    1. It's those surfaces, the textures and the colours, Olga. And yes, I would love to own one.