clay takes me everywhere

and I am a happy follower

Hello! I’m Jessica Merle, a South African ceramist making saggar fired work in York, England. For me, clay feels so alive and it offers up a deeply material and process-based ground for my work.

My love of nature and desire to live a more sustainable life has certainly influenced my ceramic process. I collect organic remnants from the world around me to create magical, unrepeatable surfaces on each piece.

By choosing to saggar fire my work I can cut out the second firing necessary for glazes and be a little bit more eco-friendly in my studio.

In between the functional, I explore form and surface through experimental vessels that also fulfil my love for sculpture.

I had the privilege of studying ceramics at the Ceramics Studio at UKZN, Pietermaritzburg, under the guidance of Prof Ian Calder, Prof Juliet Armstrong, Michelle Rall and Susie Dwyer. My colleagues and I received traditional ceramics and glaze chemistry training that also incorporated indigenous ceramics knowledge.

This is where I first fell in love with smoke firing and saggar firing.

I cannot emphasise enough how this teaching studio changed the course of my life when I made my first pot there as a first year student in 2010. This is where generosity, community, passion and joy became central to my creative practice.

Let's be Instagram friends

Find me here - @jessica_merle_art