Down a quiet lane in Derbyshire lies a sleepy verdant hamlet and a beautiful cottage just like the ones on chocolate boxes.
The home and workshop of ceramics creative, Ann Bates.
Ann has a good pedigree having studied for a BA (Hons) Applied Art Degree and gaining a First Class (Hons) Degree with Derby University under the tutelage of Sebastian Blackie, Jeremy James and Josie Walters.
She is a member of the Northern Potters Association and Peak District Artisans.
Her ceramics are varied, ranging from plates to open vessels for cut flowers & foliage. But more recently Ann’s focus and passion has taken the form of a somewhat unusual vessel.
Contemporary funerary urns. Initially I thought this a little odd but as Ann explained her progression in to creating these unique pieces I began to understand where her passion for this form of ceramics arose from.
She went on to explain that having lost a loved one she was faced with the prospect of housing their ashes in a clinical vessel, one of many without personalisation. These seemed to be cold and somewhat commercial in character.
Being a creative she decided that she would make a vessel with a personal touch and so her story begins…
Ann’s pieces are built from different clays, layered and mixed with coloured porcelain and reflect the surroundings she lives in with tones of the earth, trees and rocks which make up the palate of the Peak District.
You get a real sense of her passion and commitment to each piece she creates as she explains how she works with each client to achieve a personal memorial for their loved one. Each piece taking a substantial amount of time to create with consultation being a key factor.
In a sense, you could say that there is a real cathartic process in the creation of these funerary urns. Almost like bereavement counselling without the formality and the end product being an expression of the love you have for that person.
Whilst Ann’s work is predominantly for people she will also help you realise a piece for a beloved pet too.
I found the whole experience of meeting Ann and talking about her work really touching and not at all morbid. On the contrary, I felt as if she totally understood about loss and the journey we all have to make one day.
Here are just a few of her ceramic pieces.
You can view her work on display at her website annbates.co.uk or at home by prior arrangement by contacting her at firstname.lastname@example.org