Jenny Beavan

Ceramic artist from Bodmin, Cornwall


“Water saturates, shifts, seeps, explores, exploits, distracts, destroys, manoeuvres, penetrates, mixes, grades, attacks, finds a way, a path, a passage, dislodges, surrounds, circulates, gravitates, yet can be drawn upwards to form clouds.”

Jenny’s current work is an exploration, from the perspective of a ceramic artist, into ‘water’, as utilised by the china clay industry.

She is particularly interested in movement in relation to natural change, as seen in changed states of matter – decay, disintegration, relocation and reformation – in particular the role water plays in this action. She makes regular visits to local china clay pits and their associated industrial sites to observe man’s ‘harnessing’ of water for the purpose of china clay extraction from its original matrix, its transportation, separation and refinement. It is from observations and information gathered that she discovers appropriate methods and material to interpret her ideas, creating scenarios capable of ‘surprise’ throughout the making process, enabling insights to be sought.

There are 4 main categories to this work:-


Which contains over 50% of processed ‘super standard china clay’ from the Fal Valley pits.

Jenny seeks to portray the versatility and power of both porcelain and water; they share the same ‘free spirit’, determining their own life force/equilibrium by defying unnatural pressures to be tamed.

Slabs are formed from a block of porcelain. Forms are made whilst thinking about the natural path water takes while transporting china clay with other contaminates from its ‘matrix’ – the decomposition of its granite, to the ‘sink’ – the lowest part of the pit.

China clay

China clay in slip form is incorporated with porcelain clay. Additional processed and semi-processed china clay products from the industry and combustible indigenous material from the china clay pits are added to de- stabilize, causing tensions throughout the drying process. This work aims to depict the geological changes impacted by water.


China clay as dug involving other indigenous materials such as feldspar and quartz, along with porcelain.

Natural colours

The natural colours are mined by Imerys Minerals in France, Italy and Spain and provide a rich and inspiring palette when worked with china clay and porcelain. Simple fluxing agents such as feldspar and glass are used for contrast and depth.

This work involves the taking of clay impressions; laminating clay with the colours in slip form, bringing two strands of action together; layering and re-cycling, re-repositioning and repeating.

To see more of Jenny Beavan’s work, please click on her tag in the right hand column.