When one meets Derek Wilson the first thing one notices is his shyness and understatement, which does little to hide his natural charm. This restraint follows through into his work—which is subtle and urbane. And there is a shyness about the work as well, certainly it is immediately attractive but it takes time, and often use, to get its full flavor.
He describes himself as a hybrid of a studio potter and conceptual artist. He says that the ideas for his works spring from “a complex blending from the abstract to the familiar,” which can be seen in both his sculpture and functional ware. “My aim is to push the boundaries of a traditional and diverse art form through playing with its aesthetics, materiality and processes. Fundamentally, my work is essentially made to be used in everyday life.”
Wilson moved to Belfast, Ireland in the late 1990s after growing up between Germany and Britain. Mid-century British Constructivism and the history of the ceramic industry in both Europe and Asia inspire him. He works in celadon glazed porcelain and stoneware to create objects that, whether they’re made for everyday use or not, are often placed in groups to evoke a sense of community.
Wilson was educated at the University of Ulster, Belfast; the Crafts Council of Ireland, Kilkenny; and the Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design. Within the last year, his work has been exhibited at venues including Contemporary Applied Arts, London; the London Design Festival, the Oxford Ceramics Gallery and the Royal College of Art, London.
Garth Clark is the Chief Editor for CFile.
Derek Wilson, Ceramicist, Belfast