Kay Aplin has been working in architectural ceramics for 22 years, after graduating in public art and design from Chelsea College of Art and Design in 1995. During this time she has had many commissions around the UK and internationally, producing a distinct range of public realm art works that have stood the tests of weather and time. Since 2008 she has been based in Brighton and works from her studio at Phoenix Brighton.
Her work responds to place. The concept or narrative is evolved from the surrounding environment and recurring themes are found through observing detail and pattern within nature and architecture.
“I am inspired by the spectacular. Within my work, I strive to achieve a sense of exuberance through colour, texture and ambitious scale. The overall impact of the finished piece is paramount, as is craftsmanship and attention to detail. I endow the tactile properties with equal importance to the visual, hence my penchant for relief. I encourage the viewer to touch, as well as look, giving an interactive quality to a visually stimulating piece.”
2013 marked a significant change for Kay when she undertook a residency at Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Centre in Denmark, heralding a new direction for her practice. Explorations into new techniques of slip casting porcelain and soda wood firing resulted in the creation of Botanical Structures, a body of work in response to the Danish summer landscape. Combining oxidized and soda wood fired porcelain; various versions have been exhibited in the UK and as part of European Ceramic Context 2014 in Denmark as well as commissioned privately.
Kay is developing a new Shetland Series of Botanical Structures inspired by the Shetland landscape in collaboration with sound artist Joseph Young for an exhibition of ceramics and sound, In A Shetland Landscape, at Shetland Museum and Archives April-June 2016, transferring to the new garden Gallery at The Ceramic House for Brighton Digital Festival in September.
Since 2011 Kay has been developing her project The Ceramic House – her home and a living showcase of her work. Each year she curates exhibitions of international contemporary ceramics in May during the Brighton Festival. In 2013 it was voted Best Open House and its reputation as a gallery for ceramic art of the highest quality in a unique domestic context is growing year on year.