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ArtsKate Malone MBE

Kate Malone MBE

Selecting exhibitors in the Applied Arts category for The Marshwood Arts Awards and John Hubbard Prize – entry deadline August 18, 2023

As one of the great ambassadors for the world of ceramics, and makers in general, it’s no surprise that Kate Malone is heavily involved in a project to get more young people working in craft. Co-founder of FiredUp4, which enables hundreds of young people to enjoy the benefits of working with clay, she has helped provide studios, equipment, and training to OnSide, a national network of state-of-the-art Youth Centres in the UK’s most economically disadvantaged areas.
She says she was ‘fed up’ that young people weren’t being given the opportunity to experience the benefits and pleasures of clay turning into ceramic. ‘The benefits to the spirit and mind are many’ she says, as she explains how she was very lucky to have been at school at a time where most schools in the UK had kilns. Today there are very few. So she invited many of the U.K.’s studio Potters to donate a piece towards an auction and managed to raise nearly £250,000 to equip five studios in after-school clubs.
‘We have a third auction this October which can be seen on www.firedup4.com’ she says. ‘Over 90 UK ceramic artists have donated their work and together the field is making a difference.’ Thousands of children are now getting the option to try ceramics. ‘It gives me great pleasure to be co-founder of this project, as I myself experienced ceramics as a young person and it has been my passion and profession ever since.’
Originally inspired to be kind within her field by a Potter called Mick Casson, and also, by Mo Jupp, she says they were great teachers who made wonderful ceramics as well as having ‘a depth of kindness that was extraordinary’.
Beginning with a BA at Bristol Polytechnic she went on to an MA at the RCA and has been represented by Adrian Sassoon for nearly thirty years. She has received an MBE from then Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace and worked as one of the first judges on the TV series, The Great Pottery Throwdown. Seven million people watched the programme and for Kate the huge benefit was being able to ‘bring the joys of ceramics into people’s living rooms, to people who had never really known about the wonders of the subject, and the multitude of ways we interact with Ceramics every day.’
So how does she feel about the support that government gives to arts and crafts at the moment? ‘I feel like I’d like to shut the minister of education in a room and not let him or her out until they agree to a craft policy for the young’ she says. ‘It’s not necessarily to make a nation of crafts people, but to make things with your hands is empowering and so good for the spirit and confidence.’ She feels that we are becoming distant from the activity of making things with our hands, ‘which seems ridiculous.’ As ever, Kate is happy to give her time to work on ways to get government to see the benefit of art and craft and would be happy to be part of a panel. ‘Perhaps we should start a think-tank’ she adds.
When talking about FiredUp4, Kate stresses the point that every child has a seed of talent and that exposure can nurture unforeseen passions. The same goes with Arts Awards. ‘I think a deadline or entering a competition is a really good thing to work towards’ she says. ‘A challenge is always good. And to me, it’s not about the winning, it’s about the doing, and although this is a prize, every person who enters is a winner. I’m honoured to have been invited to be part of this wonderful project, please do consider seriously entering this wonderful community project.’

Three artists/makers are chosen from each category to exhibit in a mixed exhibition at the Allsop Gallery in Bridport, from 14 October – 4 November 2023. Entry deadline – August 18, 2023. To submit an entry visit www.marshwoodawards.com

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