By Christopher Spring
Elaine Bolt won Oh Comely magazine’s Best In Show award last night at Brighton Art Fair’s Private View, so it seems like her work is as good a place as any to start off the live blogging features from this weekend.
Congratulating her on the award she still seemed very flattered and slightly in shock.
Elaine said: “It was such a lovely evening. The people were so kind and gave some great comments. It was such a complete surprise to win. They just came over and told me with no warning whatsoever.”
Considering the depth, delicacy and assurance of her use of materials in her work, her modesty was a lovely surprise.
Based in Lewes, but moving to a studio in Brighton in the new year, Bolt’s work is influenced by the sea and seaside towns, using porcelain and organic forms/found objects to create her work. The depth of colour comes from her integration of iron oxide into her porcelain during the making process, rather than firing, glazing and re-firing.
This allows her to create much richer tones than conventional glaze based ceramics, almost with more bass tones than usual. Because the tones are so subtle, the delicate organic and porcelain forms are not engulfed in colour and are allowed to stand out. Her spoons, wholly unpractical but beautiful and delicate, seem to have a slightly African influence to them.
This last sentiment comes down to my association with the spoons and my Grandparents’ house, compounded by the beautiful pipe like forms in the frame next to it. It instantly took me back to thoughts of my family, and herein lies the real beauty of Bolt’s work, the unquestionable familiarity of each of her pieces.
Elaine said: “I’ve found a lot of people look at my work and are instantly reminded of someone or something.”
Her work taps into a latent kindness within us and is strangely hopeful despite nothing explicitly so in her work. It truly was a pleasure to be in her space.