Frances Priest

Frances Priest’s work uses drawing and ceramics to explore and interpret languages of ornament from different cultures, places and periods in history. From her Edinburgh studio, she creates ceramic objects, using clay as a canvas on which to build surfaces of inlaid line, coloured glaze and enamel decals. The relationship between making and drawing is essential to these explorations, with ceramics an ideal material to push between the two states. As marks are layered up to create a drawing, so gestures of making and units of material are often at the heart of building up decorative pattern, whether that be lines of a weave, tiles in a mosaic or layers of veneer in a piece of marquetry. Her drawings, in paper and on clay, reflect upon the nature of these labour-intensive processes. 

For A Fine Line, Priest has created a collection of works that build upon her ongoing interest in the pattern book The Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones. Looking specifically at plates 49 to 55 covering Indian Ornament, this new collection reflects on those motifs and patterns in relation to her recent travels in South West India, re-interpreting these experiences to create playful and intriguing ceramic forms and surfaces.

Frances Priest graduated from Edinburgh College of Art with a BA (Hons) and PGDip in Ceramics in 1999. She combines a studio based practice with site-specific projects, through residencies and commissions, including work with Atlas Arts, Cove Park and Artlink Edinburgh. Priest’s work is held in private and public collections including the National Museums Scotland, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Fitzwilliam Museum. She lives and works in Edinburgh.

Find out more:

Photography by Shannon Tofts

Meet the Maker

Back in 2013, ceramicist Frances Priest spoke to Craft Scotland about the creation of her intricately detailed clay vessels in advance of her participation in Craft Scotland's appearance at SOFA Chicago. Find out more about Craft Scotland