introducing lesley elliott ceramics

October 29, 2011  in handmade goodness

The New Designers graduate show is one of my favourite shows and somewhere I’ve been going every year since I graduated from Edinburgh art college. I was discovered and offered a job when I exhibited as a graduate there, and it gave me my first stepping stone into my creative career. Every year since then I return to look at the inspiring work and to chat with graduates, encourage them and buy a few pieces of work to support them.

This summer I went on the Saturday morning with the whole family, wandering around with my children who enjoy looking at all the work (until they get fidgety and want to go and play!). As we walked around, my husband and I were both immediately drawn to the work of Lesley Elliott who had just finished the Decorative Arts course at Nottingham Trent University.

Gorgeous, monochrome drawings etched in delicate porcelain, mounted on pieces of salvaged wooden plank and hung on on a dark grey wall was always going to appeal to me! They’re all inspired by her travels and I love their quirky, graphic qualities.

We chatted with Lesley about her work and her plans and she was lovely, keen and enthusiastic – as well as very talented! We asked if we could buy a piece as we knew it would fit perfectly into our home and she said yes. Our favourite was this drawing of a Polish train ticket, a memory of her travels there, drawn with a needle into the porcelain and inlaid with black slip.

The images below are from Lesley’s website,, please do go and have a look. She also has a Tumbler blog here – it reminds me of my days at art college and how much fun and creativity we had as well.

Images by Lesley Elliott.


This short timelapse video is a lovely insight into how Lesley makes these wonderful pieces.

After the show Lesley emailed us with a very sweet message and I wanted to share this little quote from her:

“It is my first piece I’ve sold and for that I am so grateful to you two, giving me the confidence that what I am doing is good and can be cherished by someone other than myself (or my mum!) so from the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

It sums up exactly why I believe it is important to support and encourage art and design graduates as they start out on their careers. I wish Lesley and all the graduates of 2011 the very best for their futures.

What do you think? Do you visit the graduate shows? I would love to hear your thoughts.

If you live near Nottingham then Lesley has been selected as part of the ‘New Meteors’ exhibition at Lustre at Lakeside Arts Centre in Nottingham on 5th/6th November and will also be part of Craft in the City at Waterstones, Nottingham on 3rd/4th December.  Do pop by and support them if you’re in the area.


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  1. Chi (BYW) says:

    I loved reading about the inspiration behind the piece you purchased. What a unique way to preserve happy memories!

    I’ve never been to graduate shows (unless invited by friends or relatives ) but I think that it’s a wonderful idea that I’ll be adopting in the future!

  2. sue says:

    lovely article. { I know i comment here and there on your blog…but truely, yours is my fav. } I’m a 42 year old Mother of three and heading back to school to receive an additional certificate to teach Art. My first art course in 20 years is in January…and, let’s just say… I’m a bit anxious. It’s so awesome that you highlighted a recent graduate… what that will do for her… ? The sky is the limit! My course is titled “advertising design”… and if my obsession with the t.v. series Mad Men is any help… I’ll do very well!

  3. Marlous says:

    Hi Sania,
    Found your blog via BYW, it’s beautiful! Wonderful to read the story behind your purchase and a great way to promote a young talent’s work!

  4. Kate says:

    I love these, and the contrast of the porcelain and the wood. It is wonderful to see new talent, it is important for graduates to keep looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, to believe in them selves and to keep going, hard as it may be. I hope she goes far!

  5. Nicola (BYW) says:

    I really enjoyed this article, not only the new work but the photographs too..

    I love to see new graduates’ work and I love good craft exhibitions, so it would be great to see Lesley’s work at Origin next year.

  6. such a lovely post! gorgeous photos! and so fun to watch the process too 🙂

    thank you for sharing so much inspiration!

    xo, juliette

  7. lovely. i still remember the first piece of work i sold at my degree show and the lovely person who bought it, and i had exactly the same feelings as Lesley!

  8. I LOOOOOOVE these photos with the succulents! Definitely pinning them. Thanks for the link to Lesley’s site too!

    Kristina Gulino
    Something 2 Write About

  9. Carla says:

    Hello, I just stumbled across your blog via Creature Comforts and was so surprised to find this post because I just saw Lesley yesterday at Lustre and bought a really nice piece from her, such a coincidence! She sells some really beautiful things. I didn’t know she would be back in Nottingham in December so thanks for the tip. Carla

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Sania Pell freelance interior stylist London.

Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, creative director and consultant based in London. She is a Contributing Stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for over 18 years, and is known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading international brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for top architecture practices and property development companies. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.

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