Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Crafty Way of Finding the Right Festive Gifts

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Crafty Way of Finding the Right Festive Gifts

Article excerpt

Byline: By Caroline Hunt

Where to get that original, hand-made Christmas gift for someone special? Caroline Hunt offers some suggestions.

Christmas is coming so let's get seasonal and think of mulled wine, mince pies, log fires and mud pies at the bottom of the garden.

There is a connection. Julia Roxburgh cites the latter as her earliest inspiration, the spur to her later career which takes a turn this festive season with the launch of a new range of practical yet beautiful ceramic pieces.

They result from her experiments with coloured clay, facilitated with a grant from Arts Council England, North-East.

She explains: "I had this bee in my bonnet about some pieces I wanted to make and realised the way to do it was through using coloured clay. Using dye, it is a very long process, which is why I asked for a grant to do it.

"I made blue, yellow, green and other colours but they are much more subtle than the colours I usually use. The decoration is slightly different on these pieces. I'd call it minimalist."

Julia, who was born and still lives in Newcastle, graduated from the pure pleasure of dabbling in garden mud to a ceramics degree course in Bristol. She has been based at the artists' studios at 36 Lime Street, Byker, Newcastle, for four-and-a-half years and you can see her work during the annual Lime Street open days on November 27 and 28, between 10am and 6pm.

On display will be Julia's more familiarly flamboyant pieces ( all entirely functional, including teapots, cake stands and soap dishes ( and some of the recent work. At least 30 of the complex's 40 resident artists will be exhibiting and selling over the weekend. Meanwhile, Julia's latest work is also included in Christmas Present, the annual selling exhibition at the Shipley Art Gallery, Prince Consort Road, Gateshead, which this year features ceramics and jewellery. …

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