Fire, Clay & Ice – How the artist Cassils works with risk

Fire, Clay & Ice – How the artist Cassils works with risk

“I see art as a way to use a monkeywrench into the subconscious…to question those ideas that are baked into us.”

Insta: @cassilsartist /

***Please also check out Cassil’s current work with XMAP: In Plain Sight –
a collaboration of 80 artists creating an art work to end migrant detention and the culture of incarceration***

Find out more about XMAP here: Twitter / FaceBook / Instagram / Website

CASSILS is a visual artist working in live performance, film, sound, sculpture and photography. They have achieved international recognition for a rigorous engagement with the body as a form of social sculpture – So what does this look like in practice?

It means creating powerful works of art across a host of media, often with a strong performative element; this includes undergoing a gruelling physical transformation to gain 23 pounds of muscle in 23 weeks, or saving all their urine for 200 days, or being set on fire by a stunt team. And we dig into the meaning behind each of these in the interview.

Each of Cassils artworks is rooted in deep conceptual, often political, explorations. And although they often involve a degree of risk, they are never reckless – a distinction Cassils is very clear to make.

Some of the topics we covered in this conversation include:

  • The rigorous approach applied to creating new pieces of work
  • Responding to prompts: how they’ve created work in response to both commissions and emerging cultural and political events
  • How they think about risk, and why it’s become a feature in their work
  • Why performing live in front of an audience has been integral to many their pieces

And we finish with a brilliant Creative Challenge that really asks us to consider the power of our skills as artist, and how we choose to use it.

I started the conversation by jumping straight in and asking Cassils for some context on how they navigate the process of taking an idea into a completed work. Please enjoy.

Posted by in clay, fire, lgbtq, performance art, political, queer, Sculpture, Season 4 - Creative Risk
Ceramicist Kate Malone, MBE, on developing creative confidence and crystalline knowledge

Ceramicist Kate Malone, MBE, on developing creative confidence and crystalline knowledge

“I’m not a risk taker… but I have blind faith.”

Insta: @kate_malone_ceramics / /

In this mini-series of the podcast, I’m focusing on the topic of Creative Risk – diving into practices that embody a high degree of risk taking and uncertainty, but in very different ways.

This conversation is with Kate Malone, MBE, one of the UK’s leading ceramic artists with an illustrious career spanning thirty years. Her work is inspired by the joy and optimism of Nature, and often features large, hand-made pieces inspired by fruit, nuts, berries and pumpkins.

Much of her work is coloured by the addition of crystalline glazes, and she is renowned for her research and experimentation in this area. And we dig into in the episode.

Her exuberant work has won her an array of commissions and collaborations, including major public art projects. Kate was awarded an MBE in 2019 for services to ceramic art.

Some of the topics we cover in this conversation include:

  • Managing risk and uncertainty both in her studio based practice, as well as when undertaking ambitious public art projects
  • Developing confidence as a maker and finding your own artistic voice
  • How she thinks about selling her work in an elite marketplace

And we finish with an absolutely brilliant creative challenge to apply to your own practice.

So please enjoy this energizing and thought provoking conversation.

Posted by in Art business, Business, Ceramics, Creative business, creative risk, fun, Play, Sculpture, Season 4 - Creative Risk
Artist Sandy Brown on the Power of Making with an Empty Mind

Artist Sandy Brown on the Power of Making with an Empty Mind

“it’s not only about how to do art, it’s how to live”

Sandy is an award winning artist whose work appears in collections around the globe. Her work is the result of a fierce commitment to a spontaneous and intuitive process. In fact, you’ll hear the phrases ‘letting go’, ‘being in the here and now’ and ‘empty mind’ several times in this interview. Working across media, including ceramics, painting, installation and sculpture, Sandy’s work is always bold, energetic, and hugely life-affirming.

This conversation was recorded at her home in the seaside village of Appledore, Devon, in the UK, where Sandy also has her studio and exhibition space. Some of the topics we cover include:

  • key moments that helped her to define her intuitive approach
  • how Sandy cultivates a state of ‘not knowing’ when creating her work
  • the value of trusting intuition and allowing your body to lead your creative process
  • dealing with uncertainty, fear, and not liking your work
  • the importance of ‘letting go’ and saying yes

And what drives her to consistently take on new and bigger challenges.

This was a delightful conversation with one of the bravest artists I know. Sandy’s commitment to, and trust in, the act of letting go, of not knowing – is as challenging as it is inspiring. Please enjoy.

Posted by user in Artist Entrepreneur, Ceramics, Drawing, fun, Painting, Play, Sculpture, Season 3
Jo Downs – Fused-glass artist and artrepreneur

Jo Downs – Fused-glass artist and artrepreneur

“I am not limited by not giving something a go.”



Jo is the UK’s premier fused-glass artist and designer. Her private commissions appear on cruise ships, in some of the most prestigious hotels, and in private homes, around the world. In this conversation, we talk about some of the key principles that moved her from a solo-maker with a kiln in her bedroom to running a business with 8 galleries and over 40 employees, all focused on making and selling her work.

Other topics we cover include:

– some of the key decisions Jo made that placed her work directly in the front of major buyers, leading to prestigious commissions

– the potential dangers of commissions, and how Jo managed to narrowly avoid disaster

– this is balanced with the potential huge benefits to taking commissions, and Jo talks about a project that she’s currently working on

– what it’s like to turn over control and trust other people to execute your designs

– we also talk about Jo’s constant drive to experiment and say “Yes”, and how these have both been instrumental in getting her where she is today

I found this to be a fantastically inspiring conversation, and I hope that you do too!

You can find Jo’s challenge to “Getting Out There” here on the Creative Challenges Page.
Posted by user in Art business, Artist Entrepreneur, Artrepreneur, Business, Creative business, Glass, Sculpture, Season 2
Arthur Ganson – Kinetic sculpture

Arthur Ganson – Kinetic sculpture

“I’m trying to imbue a lifeless object with a piece of my humanity”



©2016. Chehalis Hegner. All rights reserved.

I first came across Arthur’s work almost two decades ago when I was a student in Boston. I don’t know what led me to that gallery on that day, but I do know that the work I saw has remained vivid in my memory ever since.

Arthur manages to combine so many elements that I find deeply satisfying; interactivity, narrative, humour, ingenuity and sometimes even found objects.

But he takes it a step further – each piece lends itself to layers of contemplation, hinting at philosophical or existential questions about human existence; a search for meaning, the joy of the physical, and endless struggle.

In this episode, we talk about:

  • having a clear intention in making
  • refining your ability to communicate through your work
  • giving and receiving feedback
  • avoiding self-consciousness
  • the importance of challenging habits and assumptions

Posted by user in Sculpture