“The Design and Craft programme was definitely the right choice for me, and the friends I made at Brighton also continue to work as artists, makers and designers. In my experience the course produces graduates with the ambition, commitment and skills necessary to pursue a professional career. I would recommend it to anyone who is passionate about making and designing and wants to push their ideas and skills to undertake a career within Design or Craft.”
Phoebe Cummings works predominantly with clay often constructing pieces directly on site as temporary installations or interventions. In 2010, Phoebe was ceramic artist-in-residence at the V&A, based in the recently built studio in the ceramics galleries. Her work considers the relationships between objects, space and landscape, and gives particular significance to material and process. Often the works come to exist only as a photograph or memory and exemplify the transformative and cross disciplinary nature of contemporary material practice.
“The department is so varied with students and staff working across design, craft and art. I found this an exciting environment to be within. The way the course opens up dialogues between disciplines is an important aspect, something which I feel is equally important in the professional world”.
Phoebe has undertaken a number of artist residencies in the UK, Greenland and USA, alongside exhibiting and involvement with various commissions. During her V&A residency she researched how landscape and nature have been represented historically through ceramic objects. Responding directly to the collections, she used the studio space to create an ongoing installation, constructing temporary landscapes from clay.
“It allows you to develop your own focus through exploration and make informed decisions rather than following any narrowed prescription of what should be done with a specific material. I really enjoyed the openness of the course, working with a range of materials and the freedom to approach this in different ways”.
“The structure of the Design and Craft programme at Brighton gave me a good understanding of different materials and the skills and technical knowledge to build from. This foundation allowed me to then experiment, question and take risks, to develop my own ideas and individual focus. The broad nature of the course helped me to consider materials and making in the broadest sense, underpinned by a historical and critical awareness. This has been really significant in developing my own practice”.
After graduating, Phoebe completed an MA in Ceramics and Glass at the Royal College of Art in 2005 and artist in residencies included a three-month Arts/Industry residency at the Kohler Co. factory, Wisconsin in 2008.
In 2011, she won the British Ceramics Biennial £10,000 Spode Award. Selected from 24 shortlisted contemporary artists, in a national open submission which attracted more than 160 hopefuls. Her winning piece entitled Fragment, invoked the prehistoric landscapes and raw material which drove the ceramic industry in the UK Potteries region, by shaping complex organic sculptures with raw clay at the sites where she found them.
Barney Hare Duke, a co-director of the Biennial who was a member of the judging panel said: "Fragment stood out as an extraordinary piece, moving the viewer apprehensively from the past through to an imagined future."
In 2012, Phoebe's work featured in the Formed Thoughts Exhibition at Jerwood Visual Arts and she was artist-in-residence at Camden Arts Centre.