Ceramics Inspired by Nature

My Work

My ceramic pieces are directly inspired by nature – I love to forage leaves from local arboretums and woodlands to inform my work. Each piece I produce is one of a kind because a unique leaf is used to create an impression of the form in clay. I use various oxides, glazes and lustres to mimic the seasonal colours of the leaves as they transition throughout the year. With the challenge of unpredictable glaze firing, not one piece is ever the same!

My jewellery pieces are marked with a unique code so you can trace their design back to the original leaf used in their making. A grid reference and photograph on my website offers you the complete authentic story.

Nature’s inspiration and functionality combine in my tableware collection. Sure to impress dining guests, each piece is made using different varieties of giant leaves, the largest being used for my sharing platters. Smaller leaves of various types are used to make complimentary coasters and condiment dishes to complete the dining experience.

Sonya Wilkins in Ceramic Studio in Bristol UK

About Me

Ever since I was a child I loved walking in bluebell woods, scrunching autumn leaves with my feet and playing poo sticks in the stream near where we lived. My father taught me to paint using oils from the age of seven and it wasn’t long before I found clay at school, it’s tactile and accommodating properties inspiring me to create 3-dimensionally. In 1995 I qualified in ceramics BA (Hons) at Bristol Polytechnic under the guidance of Mo Jupp, Walter Keeler and Nick Homoky – a rich and immersive learning experience with three renowned potters. After this, creating continued to nourish my soul alongside a 10 year career in people development and starting a family. It wasn’t too long before my creative appetite got the better of me and I decided to teach ceramics part-time and then focus my full attention on becoming a professional ceramic artist in 2013.  I remember when I touched clay for the first time in a few years – it was like I had come home again.

Sonya Wilkins in Ceramic Studio in Bristol UK

About Me

Ever since I was a child I loved walking in bluebell woods, scrunching autumn leaves with my feet and playing poo sticks in the stream near where we lived. My father taught me to paint using oils from the age of seven and it wasn’t long before I found clay at school, it’s tactile and accommodating properties inspiring me to create 3-dimensionally. In 1995 I qualified in ceramics BA (Hons) at Bristol Polytechnicunder the guidance of Mo Jupp, Walter Keeler and Nick Homoky – a rich and immersive learning experience with three renowned potters.

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After this, creating continued to nourish my soul alongside a 10 year career in people development and starting a family. It wasn’t too long before my creative appetite got the better of me and I decided to teach ceramics part-time and then focus my full attention on becoming a professional ceramic artist in 2013.  I remember when I touched clay for the first time in a few years – it was like I had come home again.

My Inspiration

Westonbirt Arboretum is one of my favourite places in the world. We used to walk our dogs there when I was a child and I remember being mesmerised by the skeleton leaves I’d find in the undergrowth near the base of trees. Today I continue to visit in all seasons, inspired by the most amazing colours and varieties of maple trees. Many of my pieces are made using leaves which I have foraged at Westonbirt, a particular favourite being the ‘Full Moon Acer’ which I use to produce striking and bold pendants.

My father has also continued to inspire my work through his own passion for gardening and trees. Up until recently he owned a beautiful selection of acer trees, a few of which now take prime position in my own garden now that he has moved house. He also plays an integral part in identifying many of the leaves I forage and collect. Learning the latin names of plants has never been my forte, but luckily this comes naturally to him so he can help me identify some of the more unusual and rare varieties.

People often ask me if I can make a specific pendant or dish using leaves from their own garden or a favourite tree. This is entirely possible, and something I love to do. Recently I made a commission for two friends who visited Canada in Autumn and they wanted matching maple leaf pendants made as a memento. Luckily, with my father’s help I was able to source a Canadian maple tree and use a leaf to produce the perfect pair of pendants.

Other people have asked me to make unique pieces using leaves from a tree or shrub they are leaving behind when they move house.  This is a lovely way of taking a piece of the tree with them and preserving its beauty for longevity.

There is nothing better than producing a piece of ceramic art as a commission so if you are interested, please do get in contact and send me pictures of your lovely leaves! it’s easy to post me a leaf sandwiched between card so I can work directly from it.

My Inspiration

Westonbirt Arboretum is one of my favourite places in the world. We used to walk our dogs there when I was a child and I remember being mesmerised by the skeleton leaves I’d find in the undergrowth near the base of trees. Today I continue to visit in all seasons, inspired by the most amazing colours and varieties of maple trees. Many of my pieces are made using leaves which I have foraged at Westonbirt, a particular favourite being the ‘Full Moon Acer’ which I use to produce striking and bold pendants.

Read More...

My father has also continued to inspire my work through his own passion for gardening and trees. Up until recently he owned a beautiful selection of acer trees, a few of which now take prime position in my own garden now that he has moved house. He also plays an integral part in identifying many of the leaves I forage and collect. Learning the latin names of plants has never been my forte, but luckily this comes naturally to him so he can help me identify some of the more unusual and rare varieties.

People often ask me if I can make a specific pendant or dish using leaves from their own garden or a favourite tree. This is entirely possible, and something I love to do. Recently I made a commission for two friends who visited Canada in Autumn and they wanted matching maple leaf pendants made as a memento. Luckily, with my father’s help I was able to source a Canadian maple tree and use a leaf to produce the perfect pair of pendants.

Other people have asked me to make unique pieces using leaves from a tree or shrub they are leaving behind when they move house.  This is a lovely way of taking a piece of the tree with them and preserving its beauty for longevity.

There is nothing better than producing a piece of ceramic art as a commission so if you are interested, please do get in contact and send me pictures of your lovely leaves! it’s easy to post me a leaf sandwiched between card so I can work directly from it.

Commissions

I have been fortunate enough to work with some lovely customers who value handmade products and enjoy the nature inspired pieces that I create. Here are some example of the diverse range of commissioned pieces I have made. Fortunately I enjoy both slab-building and throwing on the potter’s wheel so I can use these different techniques to make a wide range of ceramic art for both functional and decorative use. Please contact me if you have something in mind.