Walton, Alice (British, b. 1987)

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Alice Walton (born 1987) is a British artist who creates intriguing porcelain sculptures using traditional hand-craft techniques in unconventional ways. Attracting international acclaim, her compelling objects include calming colours and intense surface textures that create a tension between the repetitive and experimental, calm and kinetic, urban and organic. Working with coloured clay throughout its plastic states, Walton aims to highlight the meditative traditional processes of the material, intending to provoke intrigue and contemplation.

Through repetitive and ritualistic mark-making, her work draws direct inspiration from the familiar urban objects she sees on her daily commute to her studio: concrete bollards, textured bricks, and winding pipework. When cycling or walking she pays close attention to her surroundings, particularly noticing how different weather or light can change the look of something that is passed every day.

Such shapes and forms are then translated into drawings, which she completes from memory in the studio and combines with photography to form the backbone of inspiration for her work. Grounded by this research, her work is about a consideration of the everyday, taking the time to notice the unseen and mundane, re-evaluating them to form new abstract landscapes.

Also drawing inspiration from the colours and patterns of old maps, coastal lines and rock formations, the organic quality of Walton’s work is perhaps influenced by her desire to stave off our digital reality. The strata-like surfaces, tactile moulding techniques and complex colours create a time capsule of discovery for the viewer to be transported from the literal into the imaginary and abstract. Ultimately, her process is rooted in a desire to slow down and steadily evolve her work, letting the material guide her experimentation, and working with a variety of hand-building techniques to connect her work to a tradition of ceramic craftsmanship.

Walton completed Postgraduate (MA) of Ceramics from the Royal College of Art in 2018, after finishing her Undergraduate BA (Hons) Degree in Wood, Metal, Ceramics and Plastics from the University of Brighton. Her unique abstract ceramics have been exhibited worldwide including at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Modern, Make Hauser & Wirth, Officine Saffi, and Collect 2020.

She has been the recipient of numerous residencies, awards and scholarships, including the Wedgewood Prize at the British Ceramics Biennial in 2019, the Sir Eduardo Paolozzi Travel Grant in 2017, and the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust in 2018.

The works on display at Mayfair Gallery for London Craft Week include some of her older works as well as newer sculptures that combine newly developed patterns, decorating techniques and colour combinations inspired by 1820s Scottish maps.