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Frances Doherty – Ceramic Gardener

By in Interviews


Thistle by Frances Doherty

Being an artist

Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself

I’m a ceramicist making small and large ceramic sculptures for indoor and outdoor environments. My studio is in Normandy, but I exhibit mainly in Britain, so I spend a lot of time crossing the channel.

When did you decide to pursue art as a career?

I had been running a restaurant in Brighton for more than ten years and taking pottery evening classes. When I became worn out with catering, I sold up and went off to university to study 3D Design.

What training do you have?

Initially I did an HND in 3D Design, then I went on to do another 3 years to get my degree in the same subject at Brighton University. I then did a Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education.

What has been the high point of your career so far?

Getting into RHS Chelsea Flower Show to exhibit my work this year!

General Questions

Who are your favourite artists?

Ron Mueck, Karl Blossfeldt.

What are you aiming for?

To make a decent living from my work.

How will you get there?

By continuing to make new work that excites people enough to buy it.

Is anything holding you back?

Only the speed at which I can work!
Lime Green Pom Pom by Frances Doherty

You and art

What feelings or reactions do you hope to arouse in people who view your work? Are you ever surprised by reactions that you get?

I like my work to have an initial wow factor, but then for people to understand what I am trying to represent.

From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?

Can’t possibly say . . . it depends on the weather, how detailed it is, how long it takes to dry out, etc.

What music do you like to listen to when you work?

I don’t . . . it’s Radio 4 all the way.

What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?

All my energies are concentrated on the Chelsea Flower Show at the moment, and I also have an Open House during the Brighton Festival. I am doing a sculpture trail at the Sussex Prairie gardens in the summer and then several shows in the autumn.
The Bishops Pom Pom by Frances Doherty

Being inspired by art

Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?

Apart from the artists I mentioned earlier, my inspiration tends to come from the garden or from other friends who are ceramicists and artists.

What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an artist?

The beauty of nature, the life cycle of plants, the intricacy and patterns inside flowers, the clever protectiveness of seedpods.

What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?

It’s always the piece I am working on.

an artist’s advice

For those thinking about turning a passion for art into a career, could you give any advice?

It’s a very hard way to make a living . . . you have to be so focused and be able to discuss your work objectively if sales are not going well. If they are, you have to learn how to price properly.

Any tips on how to get your work seen and get the commissions coming in?

You have to find the right galleries for your work and with luck the good ones will represent you at the art fairs. You have to build and continually raise your profile by having a good website kept up to date, a blog with a link to a website, and Facebook.
Blue Angel by Frances Doherty

Thanks Frances!

You can see more of Frances’ delightful pieces at and on show at Brighton Open Houses on weekends throughout May.

3 comments for “Frances Doherty – Ceramic Gardener

steve johnson

May 18, 2011 at 12:48 am

hi there frances ,remember me little steve we met at the Wycombe UNI i was studying fine art and did some ceramics at Amersham college .Also your work is great and coming along in leaps and bounds hope you’re selling plenty you deserve too!I am just ending my second year ba in fine art and have started doing a few exhibitions and selling my own work and the work of a selected few talented artists up in Blackpool were i am currently living in the pretty seaside town of Lytham st Annes .I will be off around England and Wales Scotland and Ireland travelling and self promoting and resourcing FINANCIERS Would love to connect with you again in the future kind regards Steve Johnson .


February 4, 2015 at 4:04 pm

What a lovely way to present your blog. The images are great, of course, but the whole thing gives a very personal insight into you and the way you work. Special! Ruth

ruth corman

February 4, 2015 at 4:05 pm

What a lovely blog. Images are great and the question/answer idea gives a deeper understanding of where you are coming from which helps to understand the work better.

Great stuf. Ruth

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