Maker Profile – making it 2015-17: Wendy Ward

Maker Profile – making it 2015-17: Wendy Ward
As Craft NI's making it Programmme comes to a close, and ahead of the Miaden Voyage exhibition celebrating the programme, we talk to some of the makers who've been involved. First up, Wendy Ward guides us through her process, background, and more.

 

Hi Wendy! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you get into making?

After graduating in Contemporary Applied Art, Ceramics I went on to complete an MFA in Multidisciplinary Design at Ulster University, specializing in porcelain lighting design. It was during this time that I saw a fascination between the interaction of porcelain and light and had a passion to produce a product that both enhanced the user and the interior. Having always had a love of using my hands to craft beautiful objects and a passion for business I decided to combine the two and over the last three years have spent time working with a number of ceramic and lighting companies, before embarking on the ‘making it’ Programme.

Can you tell us a bit about your making process and how the making it programme has helped?

The lighting collections are all cast in porcelain and hand finished. Each design begins life on the lathe where a plaster model is carved and then a mould is made. Using a slip casting process the moulds are cast finely to capture the pure qualities of the porcelain. I have always used porcelain in my work as I believe it is the ideal material for lighting, creating a soft warm glow which adds a warm, luxurious ambience to an interior. The porcelain has a self-glazing body giving the lighting a satin finish which is also beautiful to touch.

I love experimenting with new technologies and clay and continue to test new processes and materials, such as 3D printing and water-jet cutting. Through my practice I strive to create functional, desirable products that are lifestyle orientated – seeing a product through from concept to finished piece is extremely rewarding.

Having been based within Belleek Pottery on the 'making it' Programme has enabled me to develop my craft skills to a high standard and I have recently received an international ceramic award for exceptional ability to incorporate the qualities of hand craft into an industrial production process.

Working from Belleek Pottery design studio was a very exciting experience as I also got to work closely with the design team and have launched a collection in collaboration with Belleek Living to celebrate their 160th Anniversary and I look forward to continue working with them in the future.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

For me spare time is limited as I seem to spend any minute I have on the business. However when I do get time off I love to travel and get outdoors and soak in the beauty of our natural surroundings. I have also recently got engaged so will have to begin some wedding planning.

Where can people currently see or buy your work?

My work is available to purchase from;

  • Beaufort Interiors, Moira,
  • In Klover Hillsborough,
  • Synergy Studios, Newcastle,
  • Gallery 1608 Bushmills,
  • Leitrim Design House, Carrick on Shannon.

Please do get in touch if you wish to work with us on a bespoke lighting commission.

What are you looking forward to the most about the exhibition?

The opportunity to showcase what I have achieved over the last two years.

Where would you like to see your business in a year's time? Do you have any big plans for 2017?

2017 has already been a very exciting year for me, in January I launched my first collection in collaboration with Belleek Living, this will be retailed across the UK and Ireland. I was also awarded Ambassador for European Ceramics this year and exhibited my lighting collections at Ambiente, Frankfurt in February, the worlds largest interior tradeshow. In May I will be going to work with Meissen Porcelain Factory along with the 5 European ceramic ambassadors for 2017, where we will work on a collaborative project with Meissen.

In a year from now I would love to work with interior designers and architects on bespoke lighting installation for hotels, restaurants and luxury homes. My ambition is to build an international lighting brand and therefore I wish to exhibit and build partnerships within the major design centres, London, Paris, Milan and New York.

Find out more about 'Maiden Voyage', the 'making it' group's upcoming exhibition, which launches on 23 March in the University of Ulster, Belfast, here.

'making it' is supported by Invest NI, as well as the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.