cambridge contemporary art

Joanna Howells

Joanna has always been interested in form and texture and have explored several themes through techniques of throwing and altering.

Her current work explores two themes: ‘Folds and Facets’ and ‘Enduring Ephemeral’. 

‘Folds and Facets’ is a joy in clay itself - the way in which a simple, thrown shape can be modified and manipulated into complex forms – almost an origami approach to the thrown object.

Joanna’s background lies in both arts and science. She read Medicine at Cambridge (studying a little geology along the way) before becoming a ceramic artist.

‘Enduring Ephemeral’ marries these interests.  In trying to embody the passage of time in her work, the artist started thinking about how the turning of the seasons might influence her practice. By using living plant material she developed a technique of creating fossil-like reliefs, so that an ephemeral moment in a plant’s existence is frozen in enduring ceramic. The technique renders some elements of the living material in great detail – as hyper-real – while others are spectral or impressionistic. This is especially appropriate where some of the flora she uses are threatened with extinction in her locality, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Visits to the Fitzwilliam Museum were partly responsible for Joanna’s pursuing ceramics and, in tribute to that, her ‘Oak Leaf Jars’ are inspired by a magnificent medieval Oak Leaf Jar in the collection there.


The works illustrated below are intended to give you a taste of what the gallery has to offer, please email us on or call us on 01223 324222 to find out which pieces are currently available. Prices range from £59 - £682.