Vivienne’s unique and ‘magical’ way to add colour

Rosie Gilligan meets the Chesterfield artist who uses a fascinating technique to add colour to her sculptures

VIVIENNE Sillar is a ceramics artist whose work is particularly inspired by the sea life she first saw as a child on the Isle of Arran. She returns there regularly, and back home in Chesterfield, where she has lived for thirty years with her husband and family, she recreates in clay the fluid, streamlined creatures she remembers – seals, fish and seabirds such as oyster catchers, gannets and curlews. She doesn’t use glazes to add colour, so how does she create their distinctive, subtle colours and appearance? She’s about to show me…We are in Vivienne’s garden and she has assembled some interesting items around an old steel cooking pot about two feet in height. There are boxes of dried seaweed from Arran, lichen from the Cairngorms, dried banana and avocado skins and used coffee grounds, plus special wood shavings from her artist friends on the island. “As you see, nothing is wasted,” she explains, “I only use natural products, all recycled.”…

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