Matthew Chambers / Ceramicist
Introducing Matthew Chambers, one of the fabulous artists who have donated pieces to the upcoming Bopha School of Arts Auction ... Scroll to the bottom of the article to see "Nest", the stunning piece that Matt has given to the project.
"It’s hard to know how to begin writing this, because the artistic work of Matthew Chambers renders me pretty much speechless.
Through my eyes his abstract ceramic forms have an otherworldly quality to them. They seem to express concepts and ideas that we mere mortals haven’t yet coined words for. Circles nested within circles until they touch the “eye” of the piece, there’s something meditative, hypnotic, almost Fibonacci in his work.
To help me out, I asked Matthew, to explain more about them. This is what he said:
“I want to create simple beauty within form as opposed to trying to make my work represent something. I don’t explain my pieces too much because they don’t really need explanation. They are what they are.”
Sitting in Matthew’s studio, I gazed at the spherical pieces. They were positioned on shelves and surfaces, suspended in time and space. Simply being near them made me feel peaceful and centred.
How on earth does someone come to be making such pieces, I wondered aloud.
Matthew kindly explained.
“I trained in making table ware. After 7 years in production, I went to art school and started Uni after that.”
Matthew went on to describe how, in his first year of art school, he visited Barbara Hepworth’s Sculpture Garden in St Ives.
“She makes forms in wood, metal and stone. I wasn’t interested in sculpture at that point as I was working in production, so I knew nothing about art … but then in that first term of the first year, I saw her stuff and was blown away by it. The forms just are what they are. Her work is beautiful and that drew me in.”
Later, when Matthew graduated from the Royal College of Arts, he began making the earliest versions of what can be seen in his studio today. He explained, “The earlier versions were much simpler in construction with less contours. When I made the very first one I remember sitting back and thinking, oh wow, I think I may have something here. I’ve been evolving and developing the pieces ever since.”
Since those early days, Matthew’s work has been exhibited worldwide, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the World Ceramic Centre, Korea and Homo Fabre in Venice. His work is also held in many public and private collections worldwide with museums including The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, the National Museums Scotland, the Musee Ariana in Geneva, and the Sevres Museum Paris.
This month Matthew donated one of his pieces “Nest” to the Bopha School of Art Auction that is being held at the Ventnor Arts Club on November 12th to raise money for the Bopha School Project in Cambodia. I had come to his studio to see the piece and ask him about it, but now I was here, there was something else I was intrigued to know.
“If there was any advise you could give a fledgling artist, what would it be?” I asked.
“I would say never try and be a jack of all trades when you’re discovering what to do. Find something that ignites you and then go with it … Keep going with it … Push forward rather than changing to different mediums. A lot of artists get bored of doing one thing so they move onto a different medium, but you’ll never get great at that one thing if you continually fluctuate.
You have to push through your barriers to break through to the next level of mastery in whatever your chosen field is. Even when you’ve hit boredom, you’ve not gone anywhere near the extent of what you can do with your art. Keep pushing. Keep your focus.”
Matthew’s advise made absolute sense to me … and it suddenly allowed me to wrap some understanding (and words) around what his work represented to me.
At the central point of each circular piece is the “eye” …the empty space that exists within the final ceramic circle. This point felt like the tip of focused consciousness, around which all else orbits in our world. It was the focus point I strive for in meditation. It was the anchor-point of self discipline in my sports. It was the true north of sanctuary that I feel for when my life feels chaotic.
What do you see in Matt's sculptures?
I'd love to know ...
A huge thank you to Matthew Chambers for talking to me, sharing his thoughts, his journey and for donating such a special piece of beauty to the Bopha School Art Auction.
This is the piece that he is donating to the Bopha Art Auction.
If you would to put a bid on Matt's piece, Nest, please email Bethan on firstname.lastname@example.org
If you'd like to see more of Matthew Chambers’ work, visit his Instagram here