Jemma Gowland

Jemma’s work explores the way that girls are generally constrained from birth to conform to an appearance and code of behaviour, to present a perfect face and maintain the expectations of others. The use of porcelain or stoneware with layered disrupted surfaces, describe the vulnerability beneath.  

Jemma first trained for a BSc in Engineering Product Design, and worked in the fields of industrial design, production, and architectural model making before becoming a teacher of Design and Technology.  With experience in making using a very broad range of materials, for a wide range of purposes, ceramics has become the abiding interest with its unique versatility and surface possibilities, the technical challenges and opportunities seem endless.  This interest led first to making ceramic birds and animals, several short courses, and a residency.  This was followed by taking the City Lit Ceramics Diploma, graduating in 2019, resulting in the current body of work. 

Employing the different rates of shrinkage of clay bodies, with layers of glaze and oxides beneath a top layer of porcelain, the surface is disrupted. Small variations can change these effects hugely, and it remains a process in constant development.  Clothes are sewn to fit each figure and treated to create the fabric effects. 

“Being a mother, wife and daughter, as well as a woman working in a largely male field, led to an examination of the role of the female, and how societal norms can still shape the way children are raised.”