Imagine lying dreamily among wild flowers in a fragrant summer meadow as insects hum around in the warm afternoon sunshine. Such are the sensations rekindled by ceramicist Katie Spragg’s evocative depictions of the natural world. “I’m interested in how you can represent a place through an object,” she says, “and I’m seeking to evoke feelings and memories we associate with special places.”
Spragg, who graduated with an MA in Ceramics and Glass from London’s Royal College of Art in 2016, conjures her work from unglazed clay. Every blade of porcelain grass rising from a clump of “turf” in her series (from £400) of the same name is hand-modelled using a painstaking process. Porcelain petals or grasses peek from cracks in the concrete bases of her Blooms series (from £420) and porcelain weeds are corralled within domed glass cases in her Victorian Legacy series (£2,800 to commission).
“I’m interested in the classification of plants as weeds depending on cultural or locational factors,” says Spragg. The Glasshouse (£12,000) is an installation inspired by weeds growing in and around the derelict former Spode factory in Stoke-on-Trent. And wild, untamed areas of Forde Abbey’s gardens in Somerset, studied during an artist’s residency, inspired Dewy Vista (£2,900) and Long Pond Vista (£2,900), each made from porcelain, glass and wood. In an upcoming solo show (July 31 to September 2) at London’s Garden Museum, Spragg will display Creeper (£3,200), Climber (£2,300) and Fronds (£3,600), made from porcelain, glass, concrete and maple, along with a domed glass terrarium-like Palm House (£4,100) containing ceramic palms and tropical plants seen at Kew Gardens.
“It’s important for me to present the work in an innovative way – not just on a plinth – and create immersive experiences so viewers feel they are in a particular place or moment,” says Spragg. This concept succeeds spectacularly in her Peephole Boxes, in which porcelain meadow grasses are displayed in oak boxes (made by woodworker Geoffrey Hagger) with moody internal lighting suggesting late evening or early morning. Hedgerow was acquired by the V&A last year, while Meadow (£4,600) will be followed by further peephole vignettes (from £4,100).
Spragg welcomes “place responsive” personal commissions (from £650). A commission would be a powerful way to reconnect with nature or relive a moment in a place redolent with memories.