Hilary Mayo: Topography of a landscape

14 October – 16 December 2017

Hilary Mayo showed a collection of ceramics made following a recent trip to Iceland. She visited the country in 2017 and its changing light and fragility impressed her immediately.

Hilary Mayo
Hilary Mayo

She entitled this collection Topography of a Landscape. It encapsulated her response to the strangely addictive beauty of Iceland’s other worldly landscape. Her work is a good example of pots which are abstract, yet full of meaning. They reference an experience she had of this landscape. Alongside Gina Glover’s ‘Melt’ series of photographs (below), it was so clear that they were part of the same language. Not only the colours, but their forms were in harmony.

Hilary Mayo pots on show
Hilary Mayo’s collection of ceramics on show with Gina Glover’s Melt series of photographs, showing different reflections on icy landscape and the impact of climate change.
Hilary Mayo Deliquesce on show in the window
Hilary Mayo, ‘Deliquesce’. On show in pride of place in the front window of GroundWork Gallery Handbuilt stoneware, painted layers, porcelain slip, oxide, stain and glaze, h. 27cm.
Now in a private collection.

A reflection of the Icelandic environment

The delicate pots in this series of works demonstrate the artist’s completely individual and powerful response. The strong shapes, thin rolled clay and subtle blues and greys reflect the fragile environment she visited.

Hilary hand builds her pots, rolling out slabs of clay and forming shapes like sculpture. She adds glazes layer by layer.

Hilary Mayo Iceland inspired vessels
This is part of a collection of stoneware vessels made following the artist’s visit to Iceland. It is a perfect medium to reflect her responses to that country’s fragile, watery, changing landscapes. Finely rolled slabs of stoneware clay are assembled and form a canvas on which multi layers of glaze, oxide and stain are applied with a brush.
One of Hilary Mayo’s photographs of Icelandic landscape, which shows very clearly the source of her inspiration for her forms and glazes.

Hilary’s ideas evolved as she worked from photographs, memory and observed detail. In reflecting on the experience she refined the shape and surface decoration of her pots. She found a way to reference receding glaciers. But also the underlying theme of her work touches on climate change. That was so clearly evident to her in the topography of the Icelandic landscape.

“History lies before the eyes of the observer as a petrified, primordial landscape”

Walter Benjamin

Select biography

Hilary Mayo began her career as a broadcasting researcher & producer, before she studied ceramics. She learned at at the City Lit Diploma course London, with Annie Turner (who showed with us in Water Rising). Hilary was selected as a Crafts Council Hothouse artist in 2014. She also won the Arts Craft Design Award Certificate of Excellence in 2017. Hilary shows regularly with the New Craftsman Gallery in St Ives.