I have had a studio here since 2009. I graduated 2008, and did a couple of internships then had some shows coming up so needed to make new work. I received the ESW Graduate bursary, which brought me to the workshop. That prompted me to apply for a studio and shortly after that I also got a job here as a sculpture technician.

I’m currently doing a research project with Edinburgh University. It’s with the Creative Informatics Department, a program they run called Connected Innovators through which they support a cohort of artists. I’ve been funded to research how digital and data-driven technologies can support my practice. I’ve been working a lot with environmental data sets and embedding them into my sculptures. To give some background, I had a residency over 2021-2022 at the European Ceramic Work Centre in the Netherlands for three months, which was amazing. I was working out how to turn my sculptures into ceramics, but also how to take numerical environmental data sets and translate them into my sculptures. I embed data into the surface of my sculptures, encoded in sequences, so I was looking at how to make a system to decode that data back. I wanted to do this so that if someone is looking at the sculpture, they can then start to tap into the different data sets and understand elements of climate crisis which are recorded in the data sets. The project with the University has been to research how to make that system and how it will function alongside the sculptures to make them more interactive, make the data accessible and to find a new way of deciphering it. To do this I’ve been learning how to build an augmented reality apps.

I’ve built an app that goes alongside my sculptures that will allow people to essentially scan the sculpture and then tap into the different datasets for example they will be able to access information that relates to the decline of Antarctic Krill.

It has been a big project. It started with hand making all the sculptures and creating a means of storing the data within them so they become sculptural recordings. That was step one and then getting those sculptures into ceramics was the second step. The next stage of how to engage with that data and interact with the sculptures has been step 3. It was such a big learning curve because I wanted to be in a position to continue developing the interactive element as an ongoing part of my practice, alongside new collaborations and my progressing ceramic work.

If I go on to make a whole new body of work that’s to do with completely different data, it’s important that I can adapt the app to fit. It meant having to develop a whole new skill set because I’m hands on, I make things and that’s the part that really interests me. I’m also a researcher, so, developing that and trying to learn all the software was a big task. I had a really great mentor through the program who helped me a lot, because I was going from absolutely zero knowledge to being able to use really complex 3D software. There’s extra complexity because I want the app to work alongside an exhibition, both so if someone’s there and they can use their phone to interact with the artwork, but also so that it can function remotely. Sometimes it has been deeply frustrating, because I’m not an app developer and it was my first project. Hopefully we’ll get the app published at some point in the near future.

How do you see your practice in the future? 

Oh, I see my practices functioning in lots of different ways and frequently it’s all alongside each other. I’ve just been doing this research and development project which is very much my key interest at the moment, but I’m also about to start on a public art commission, so that will be my next project. I might be working on that for eight months, maybe with some breaks where I can work on this project. Once I complete the public art commission, I see myself coming back to this work with ceramics and I want to create a new body of sculptures.

I am very interested in archaeology, which has played a big part in my research recently and I am excited to see how that impacts my practice in the future.

Any exhibition to prepare? 

It’s a good question. I think the next thing I want to do is to get an exhibition for the university research. I’m not quite ready yet, I need a little bit more time. A little bit more tweaking and some new work that needs finishing. Once I get to that point, I’m going to exhibit that body of work, because it feels like it’s been a long time in the making. I will start looking for exhibition opportunities to show it. It’s all been behind closed doors so far and it’s getting close to a time to start showing the work.

Is there any special project that you keep postponing?

Oh, probably more than one. It’s one of those things, you think up 25 ideas and maybe do your favorite two to start with and by the time you might be finished with those two, you could have 25 new ideas to do. I think I have started everything that I’m most interested in in terms of work at the moment. I’ve got a few projects that have been begun, and then maybe a commission has come along and I’ve had to put them aside for a while. I feel like that body of work and the way of working that I was referring to earlier, those methodologies, have a lot of potential. That’s my direction of travel for the foreseeable future.


More about Kate’s work here