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Mining-inspired ceramics collection showcased at Gray’s Degree Show 2012


Helen Ryrie (25) from Bower in Caithness, a fourth-year 3-Dimensional Design student at Robert Gordon University’s Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, has recently showcased her work to the public at the School’s 127th annual Degree Show, sponsored by BP. 

Helen Ryrie 3D DesignThe former Wick High School pupil has taken symbols of the mining industry and used these to design a unique range of ceramics. In her research, Helen looked at traditionally high-value metals and gems, exploring the perception of ‘preciousness’.

Helen explains:

“In most cases, it is personal preference or sentiment that gives an object its value to an individual as opposed to monetary value. When studying traditionally precious materials such as gold, silver and diamonds, I began to investigate where these came from and became interested in the mining industry.

“Rather than the precious metals or gems, I found inspiration from the overlooked elements of mining such as the equipment used and the stories of miners. I have taken the mundane, everyday objects of the industry and transformed them into precious objects.”

Helen’s collection comprises porcelain canaries painted in metallic lustre glazes, mining lamps coated in copper and drill and pick axe shapes formed into ceramic vessels.

For her exhibition, the talented artist used individual mining lamps to create a chandelier installation to represent their original use – as a source of light. Helen has also added a link back to the natural environment by adding petals and leaf patterns to the drill-shaped vessels and creating brightly coloured resin pick axes to reflect the stamen of flowers.

Helen adds:

“The public reacted very well to my designs at the Degree Show especially my porcelain canaries. I like to have fun with unusual forms and also focus on the story behind inanimate objects, a concept I think everyone can relate to.”

Helen, who is set to graduate in July, has secured a place at Aberdeen’s ‘Oil & Glass’ studio and hopes to commercialise her pieces in the future.

Gray’s School of Art Degree Show 2012, sponsored by BP, showcased a plethora of undergraduate talent across a range of disciplines including 3D and product design, painting, printmaking, sculpture, fashion and textiles, graphics, digital media, visual communication, photography and electronic media.

Issued by:
Sarah Grieve

Communications Officer

Robert Gordon University
Schoolhill
Aberdeen
AB10 1FR
Tel: 01224 262206
Email: s.j.grieve@rgu.ac.uk.