Carol McNicoll is one of a group of female artists who transformed the British ceramics scene in the 1970s. She studied Fine Art at Leeds Polytechnic before completing an MA at the Royal College of Art. McNicoll has designed collections for Next Interiors and Axis Diffusion amongst others, lectured at various institutions and has exhibited widely, both in the UK and internationally. Public collection that hold examples of her work include the Victoria and Albert Museum; National Museum Wales; Ulster Museum, Belfast; National Museums Australia; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and Museum Boijimans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. In 2001 she was short-listed for the Jerwood Prize for Ceramics and a major Crafts Council retrospective of her work toured the UK from 2003 – 2005.
Carol McNicoll’s work is conceived to exist in the internal domestic sphere, while also taking on external elements of the world through her detailed composite sculptures using inventive modelling and moulding techniques and found objects sourced from charity shops and flea markets. She casts a wry, albeit entertaining, glance at our complicated society and encourages the viewer to engage with questions about identity and global issues.
This new body of work is inspired by her first skill – making clothes. She has been making clothes since she was a child and honed her craft as a wardrobe assistant in the mid 60s before going to art school. She also worked as a machinist for the fashion designer Zandra Rhodes in the 1970s, and went on to design and create stage costumes for Roxy Music. The artist has drawers full of scraps of leftover fabric and recently had the idea of constructing a jacket from a length of patchwork fabric. The jacket was a success and making it inspired her to embark on a series of ‘patchwork pots’.
This patchwork idea enabled McNicoll to create a beautiful series of ceramic sculptures that incorporate her love of travel and drawing, and play with images and forms of construction.