Life drawing influences Samantha McNamara’s Ink ceramics

Kate Brewer | September 15, 2016

Recent graduate Samantha McNamara has created a collection of ceramics that explores the use of line and proportion, inspired by a series of ink drawings of the human form.


Comprising a series of thrown clay vessels and dishes, Samantha McNamara’s collection is available in a range of mini coloured clusters in white, blue, violet, green and blush. Each colour-way combines the muted hues with a contrasting band or line, which enables them to work independently or as a collection of pieces, mixing and matching tones to suit.


Ink was inspired by a trip to Japan where Samantha worked under the guidance of master potter Kato Hiroshige. Exploring the use of form, function, colour and texture used by the local makers and artists, she started to play with the idea of combining her intuitive approach to life drawing, using a brush and ink, with her ceramics work. She took her fluid and natural way of creating expressive marks on a page, into a new method of manipulating clay.


Transferring the line on the page to a line in the clay, the process of dipping and layering the glaze to create this line has been a process she has continued to use in her aesthetic approach ever since. “While I am drawing, I am thinking about making, and while I am making, I am thinking about drawing,” she explains.

Using the importance of function as a starting point, the shape and size of each piece was informed by the process of creating an ink drawing: a water vessel, an ink pot, colour pots and a mixing palette. Samantha then began to view the design process with a new focus – the form and composition of each vessel.


“My work is an exploration of the relationship between form and function,” Samantha tells Design Geek. “I throw using a potter’s wheel, and then investigate the quality of the line in the way I use colours and glazes. Ink looks at connections between two processes: throwing in clay and drawing with inks. Both processes are performed intuitively, which allows the ceramic objects to have their own identity as well as a group dialogue. The Ink drawings that accompany these pieces observe the human form from life, depicting colours coming through in the glazes.”


She’s the first to admit there isn’t an obvious visual link between her two-dimensional and three-dimensional works, but instead, the connection is more about the intuitive way she approaches her creative endeavours. A sweep of the brush being a similar movement to throwing the clay into its first form. With this in mind, the collection takes on a deeper meaning for Samantha, her expressive nature of working freeing up the creative process from paper to pot and beyond. A recent graduate from the Hereford College of Art, she now creates hand thrown collections of ceramic ware on the wheel, from her studio in Hereford.


Samantha McNamara is one of Look Like Love’s ‘One-to Watch’ designers, find out more about her work here

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Contributing Writer – Kate Brewer

Interior designer Kate Brewer, established Look Like Love in 2011 as a platform for new designers. She writes a weekly column for confessions of a design geek showcasing the new talent she discovers. She has worked in the industry for 11 years as a retail interior and furniture designer for brands including Mulberry, All Saints and Selfridges. Over the past four years, Look Like Love has established an e-commerce site, and showcased new talent as part of London Design Festival in 2013 and 2014, and opened a week-long pop shop as part of Clerkenwell Design Week in 2015.

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