Bio

Lorna Phillips’ research-based practice excavates traces of material culture and social history by journeying into the biographies of the land. Acts of collecting and re-distributing are led by an urge to discover the artist’s new place of residence, the North Estonian Coast. The material of clay provides the path into the landscape and what it holds. Understandings of environmental responsibility, migration, ancestral inheritance, and the role of women as craftworkers within society are raised through the exploration of the stories embedded in the earth.

Lorna Phillips has exhibited in several group and solo exhibitions in Tallinn (Vent Space Gallery, ISFAG and Raja Gallery), and formed collaborative projects such as making, sourcing and wood-firing 350 bricks from local Galloway clay.

 

Skills & Experience
  • Knowledge of clay sourcing, ceramic processes and firings.
  • Experience in assisting artists at The International Ceramics Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Scone Palace and Kincardine.
  • Participant in 's03 e02' group exhibition in Layer House, Kranj, Slovenia, 2020.
  • Solo exhibition '100 Cups' at Vent Space Gallery, Tallinn, 2019.
Lorna Phillips, 'The Kunda Pair', 2020, Digital Film of Installation, 5 minutes 38 seconds (full version), Filming by Ali Madani.

The empty ancient lakebed that is the present-day land of Kunda is the current source of the artist’s practice. The traces of the lake and its inhabitants are entered into conversation with, through the materials and forms that persevere. The river is the remaining artery that continues to flow through the land. Prehistoric artefacts have been preserved in the peatlands and mounds that have formed through the evolution of the landscape. The clay of Kunda continues to be mined, and worked, with hands. The relationship between the waterways of Estonia and the mining industry have heavily impacted the political and social identity of the land’s inhabitants.

As the ground groans underneath us it gathers the history of our actions within its layers.

 

 

The terracotta vessels semi-submerged in the Kunda River.
Lorna Phillips, 'The Kunda Pair left', 2020, Installation, Photography by Ali Madani.
One terracotta vessel with pointed keel leaning against a found bolt.
Lorna Phillips, 'The Kunda Pair - Lipped Vessel', 2020, Ceramic and found bolt, 33cm x 14cm x 15cm.

The wild clays are dug, carried, and re-distributed. They are given in their installation. To the land, the ancestors, and to people’s homes along the coast. Works return to their source. The working is journeying through the landscape. Entering people’s everyday lives, submerging its sherds into the earth, engulfing itself into the cycles of life, material and human, past and present.

Details of the brown and green glazed pots.
Lorna Phillips, 'Details of Lahemaa and Kunda Pots', 2020, Ceramics.
Detail of small brown glazed vases.
Lorna Phillips, 'Lahemaa Vases Detail', 2020, Ceramic.
A small cup glazed in dark brown and green, held in the artist's hand.
Lorna Phillips, 'Held Untitled Cup 1', 2020, Ceramic, 6cm x 6cm x 8cm.
Two tea bowls, a teapot and a note on a table. expand
'Installed Kunda and Lahemaa Pots', 2020, Installation, Photography by Harry Tenebaum.

In their migration their traces are scattered. The artist, as a young female maker and aspiring craftsperson, engages with the history of female potters from the earliest human settlements on the land. The stories of these women and their journeys over the Baltic Sea reveal a respect for clay, their forebearers and the natural environment that is incredibly beautiful. Driving the artist to give something back to this understanding and intimacy with the earth and what it holds. Encountering the land as a container of knowledge, history, lives passed and continuing through their decay, as a foundation in all sense of the word. Supporting, holding, and creating.

Lorna Phillips, 'A Pot for a Mound on Hiiemägi', 2021, Digital Film of Installation, 2 minutes 42 seconds.
A small unfired green pot nestled in the grass.
Lorna Phillips, 'Installed Pot for Hiiemägi', 2021, Unfired Clay, 10cm x 6.5cm x 6.5cm.
The view of Kunda Cement Factory from the heath of Hiiemägi.
Lorna Phillips, 'Kunda Cement Factory from Hiiemägi', 2021, Photograph.

 

Giving offerings to sacred places, collapsing burial grounds, and past islands that are now sloping hills in flatlands. These are the actions compelled by a closeness formed to the physicality of the land that the artist finds themself in. Searching, touching, digging for an understanding, and through it finding a sensitivity and a deep sense of care for their surroundings, its heritage and culture.

Lorna Phillips, 'The Lammasmägi Burial', 2021, Digital Film of Installation, 2 minutes 11 seconds.

There are gestures of gratitude in the work. The large moon jar (‘Thank you’) is made of two open halves that surrender themselves to be one whole. The work will go to the artist’s parent’s home. A gift back to those that have given so much. A gift to those that support. The clays of the artist’s new home migrating to family further afield.

A large brown moon jar held in the artist's hands showing details of the glaze and small crack. expand
Lorna Phillips, 'Thank you', 2021, Ceramic, 40cm x 40cm x 40cm.
A large brown moon jar held in the artist's hands. expand
Lorna Phillips, 'Thank you', 2021, Ceramic, 40cm x 40cm x 40cm.

The artist’s personal stories are intertwined with the stories of people passed. Biographies are found, created, and remembered through the clay. The land is shown to be something at the very heart of human existence. It may be possible to hold the clay but ultimately, we are held by it.

Lorna Phillips hopes to form understandings of unknown environments through the geology and archaeology of the land. With a wish to pursue the community of our surroundings as a source of wisdom. To move through times and cultures in order to learn from the past and better the present.

Lorna Phillips, 'Water and the Land', 2021, Digital Film, 12 minutes 19 seconds.