The importance of play

At The Ode To we are always curious to learn more about creativity and artistry, so we asked Lizzie Scarlett Towndrow to tell us a little bit about her life, her art and her sources of inspiration.

Lizzie Scarlett Towndrow Handmade Ceramic Artist

Can you tell us about your background and how you came to be an artist?

– I have a Bachelor of Arts in Illustration, and a Master of Arts in Textiles from Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. By incorporating these techniques in my approach to clay, I explore the passing of knowledge, skills, and stories through the processes of making, interaction, and play.

How would you describe your art and aesthetics in three words?

– Playful, illustrative and functional.

What inspired you to create the artworks you have made for The Ode To?

– I have always been fascinated by ancient ruins. I find it fascinating how they preserve stories of our past, and whilst they are emblematic of decay and destruction, their continued presence today feels hopeful. Sometimes ruins were left standing as symbols or lessons for future generations, and I like how that relates to creativity and craftsmanship; artists passing on tactile knowledge and stories through their work. There is something kitsch about a souvenir you might buy at the gift shop of a historical landmark or ruin, and I like to think that my pieces balance between being an artifact and a functional object for the home.

Lizzie Scarlett Towndrow Handmade Ceramic Art Unique Vase

What do you call your series of artworks?

– I've titled this collection ‘Achilles’. I have been making vases inspired by Amphora vessels and ionic columns for a while now, but this collection of vases is inspired by a recent trip to Athens. Whilst I was there, I discovered a painter called Achilles Droungas. He paints hyper-realistic still life scenes that are as otherworldly as they are intricately detailed, blurring the lines between the real and the imagined world. I visualized my work as pieces in Achilles’s painted scenes, with their bold colours and silhouettes, and with the juxtaposition of classical iconography and a sense of fun and play. I hope that my work can bring energy and stories into the contemporary living space.

What technique have you used?

– I use slab building for most of my pottery. It’s a type of hand-building where walled pieces are formed together through slip and score. It’s like clothes patterns, sewing them together to make a three-dimensional shape as you would with a needle and thread. My background is in textile design and quilting, so it feels natural for me to use a similar process to build my ceramics.

What other artists do you admire?

– One of my all-time favorite artists is Henri Rousseau. I have a print of his painting ‘The Dream’ hanging on my bedroom wall, and even though I see it every day, it always draws me in and encourages my imagination to run wild. In Rousseau’s career, it took a while for people to take him seriously, but I like how his work doesn’t take itself too seriously either. The naive sense of storytelling and play in his style puts you at ease and encourages you to explore and be curious, and I’d like people to look at my work in the same way.

What we love about Lizzie Scarlett Towndrow:

Playful with a thoughtful twist and created with great craftsmanship; the art of Lizzie Scarlett Towndrow never stops to interest us.