Kay Aplin is an architectural ceramist, creating site-specific commissions for the public realm and large-scale tiled installations.

Since 2013, Kay has been working with microscopic imagery of botanical specimens. Her process involves using a microscope to uncover hidden details in flora magnified to reveal highly textured designs, the basis for porcelain tile-based compositions. During this time, Kay has been experimenting with wood firing. She is fascinated with the unique and unpredictable surface textures that result from firings of up to 6 days in duration.

Kay presents three bodies of work.

Botanical Structures is a body of work developed in residence in Denmark in 2013. It is an investigation in clay of Karl Blossfeldt’s ground breaking magnified photographs of plants in the early 19th century. Blossfeldt’s emphasis on geometric patterns in nature chimes with Kay’s fascination in geometric structures found in natural subjects. Kay was introduced to wood firing whilst making Botanical Structures. The colours achieved through fire, ash and the introduction of soda produce a palette entirely appropriate for botanically-themed work.

Shetland Flora was created for In A Shetland Landscape at Shetland Museum & Archives in 2016, a ceramic and sound exhibition with Joseph Young, following a residency in Shetland. Inspired by its bleak beauty, Kay drew her inspiration from micro-flora blooming on the islands. This was the first time she used a microscope to view inner structures of plants. The work was subsequently developed into Shetland Flora, created in residence at wood firing symposia in Estonia and Denmark, presented at Kaolin, Stockholm in 2022.

Asturian Flora developed out of Fire and Water, a ceramic and sound installation created for Collect, Saatchi Gallery, in 2019. Building on her cross disciplinary collaboration with Joseph Young, the artists responded to the site of a natural spring in Asturias, Spain. ‘Fire’ refers to the wood firing technique whilst ‘water’ references Victoria Spring, the source of the plants. Fuego y Agua was exhibited in Agua de Borines, Asturias, in 2022, for which Kay developed Asturian Flora, mounted on clay slabs from the wood kiln.

Join us for the exhibition opening on Friday 8 December, 6pm – 8pm. Free entry, everyone welcome .