Ceramics with Chris McHugh


“I will begin the session by talking a little about clay work I have done with young offenders, those affected by dementia and soldiers and veterans with PTSD. We will then use stock decals (bought in ones) to decorate plates. This is the kind of simple activity which could be adapted for the field, as long as there is a kiln available. ¬†Participants should be able to collect their plate about a week after the workshop. We have a decal printing machine in the department and we can print our own decals from photographs and other artwork, so this could be considered at a later stage for a follow-up workshop” (Chris McHugh, Lecturer in Ceramics)


Chris McHugh: Research Interests

“I have been Lecturer in Ceramics at Belfast School of Art since January 2017. My practice-led ceramics research is concerned with three interrelated strands of enquiry which can be summarised as follows: (a) artistic approaches to archives and museum collections with an emphasis on community engagement and participation; (b) an exploration of the relationship between artistic and archaeological research methodologies; and, (c) an interest in the role clay, ceramics and grassroots making can play in encouraging wellbeing.”





Alexandra Engelfriet, Performance Artist

Chris recommends viewing the work of performance artist Alexandra Engelfriet who physically moulds clay with her whole body.

A video by performance artist Alexandra Engelfriet.

“For more than twenty years Alexandra Engelfriet has worked with the formable materials of the earth: clay, sand, silt and adobe. Through physical interaction that involves the whole body she shapes the material and is herself shaped in the process. Body and clay giving and receiving, an intimate relationship takes shape between experience and earth, setting geological time-scales against the breath of the human body. In inside spaces Engelfriet creates installations using different spaces as large moulds in which the material is shaped. Out in nature she works with matter and natural forces that she finds on the spot. In recent years fire has become another strong natural element that collaborates with her, solidifying her movement permanently into ceramic.” (www.mansfieldceramics.com)