VanillaKiln is the work of Jude Winnall who specialises in porcelain jewellery and ceramics. Jude is a trained graphic designer but since moving back to Wales some years ago has been concentrating on her passion for clay – initially as a sculptor and now as a ceramics artisan. Her work – which has been described as "very zen" – includes a spiral lily, peace dove, feather and hand themes. Her designs are contemporary, light and elegant. The freeform ceramics are sculptural one offs with random folds of clay - sometimes with fabric impressions and button feet. The spiral lilies and hand bowls are also individually crafted in rolled porcelain and coloured with gorgeous glazes. Her jewellery has a similar sensitivity with exquisite porcelain and on trend elements. Jude produces work in small batches from her home studio in Llandudno, North Wales.
I have an affinity with beautiful fabrics (after years of dressmaking) and this inspired the linen and lace collections. Other ceramics draw upon my design background or are inspired by forms found in nature – living in beautiful North Wales is a rich source of visual material.
Some of my work has been created by engaging with the clay on a spiritual level where intervention and serendipity is in careful balance. A perfect form is likely to be the result of both concentration and a happy accident – for example, gravity making its mark. During the making process I like to be free of outside disturbances, internal worries and anxieties (if only for a few hours) until the process is complete. I hope that these good vibes are evident in the work I create.
I also offer ceramics that have a spiritual function or message. For example, candle holders used for prayer and rituals, offering bowls, feather jewellery to remind us of loved ones, or a simple soap dish making those daily routines more pleasing.
A lot of my ceramics are completely unique and made without using moulds. The sculptural freeform collection has random folds of clay - sometimes impressed with fabric textures and added quirky button feet.
Other designs are more controlled and start their life in paper. Techniques like cutting, folding, shaping and gluing can be applied to clay. So a new idea is often developed in paper first, and if viable, will be progressed into a hand built clay prototype.
I utilise many different modelling styles for the porcelain components of my jewellery. The exquisite snowdrops are precise and realistic but the linen impressed pieces are more freeform and expressive. All my jewellery however is more about craftsmanship and aesthetics, less about intrinsic value.
PORCELAIN AND THE CERAMIC PROCESS
Originally from China, porcelain is now manufactured by hundreds of companies around the world. Porcelain is well known for its white, translucent quality and is the main component of parian porcelain, china, fine china, English china and bone china. Bone china is whiter than most clays but contains animal bones from unknown sources so I don't use it. My porcelain is suitable for vegans. It is made in England and loved by sculptors because of its wonderful malleability.
When clay is prepared to the right consistency it can be impressed with textures, draped like fabric, ruffled like lace and curved like card. When it is leather hard it can be assembled, carved and refined.
Work needs to dry out completely for a week or so before it can be glazed. I fire everything in my kiln at 1220ºC to achieve vitrification.