Q&A with Damaris Booth

Interview by Nadia Al-Khalifah

I’m sure you’re all aware our exhibition, Britain’s Dinners and Texas Meals by ceramic artist Damaris Booth comes to an unfortunate end this Friday April 26, 2013.

If you’re wondering who the artist is behind this great ceramic art it’s Damaris Booth. She is a British artist who lives and works in London, UK. She received a BFA from Bath Spa University, Bath UK and a BTEC Diploma in Craft Design from Camberwell College of Art and Design, London. She was an artist in residence at the Guldagergaard, International Ceramic Research Centre in Denmark (2008) and has been in numerous group shows in and around Europe. Luckily we were able to get some of her time to answer a few questions about her exhibition featuring her recent ceramic work and how she

To our luck we were able to snag a few moments of her time to answer a few questions about her current exhibition and artistic practices.

Q: How did you get into ceramics?

A: I discovered ceramics on an Art and Design Diploma at the University of the Arts, London and despite swaying towards textiles I became inspired and decided to switch to ceramics; I loved all the possibilities clay had. I then went on to study a BA (Hons) degree in Ceramics at Bath Spa University.

Q: In your recent exhibition Britain's Dinners and Texan Meals why did you choose to work with ceramic plates?

A: I am interested in ceramics as a ubiquitous material in domestic life. Ceramic plates play a central part in most meal times in the UK and USA. 

Q: Where did your inspiration come from to work with leftover meals?

A: My mum brought me up to always clear my plate and I have since been completely unable to leave any, even if I am about to pop. I started photographing any leftovers that I came across in cafes and on friends' plates. It wasn't long before I had the idea to use ceramic transfers to start putting photographs of leftovers on plates. I am also interested in how food can be transformed so rapidly from something which is essential and desirable to being repulsive.

Q: Why did you choose Britain and Texan foods to work with? 

A: I am British and have been fascinated by our unique cultural relationship with food for some time. I chose meals which were Britain's favorite to highlight our eclectic taste stemming from our country's history. For instance, Indian food is our number one favorite. 

I became interested in Texan food when Jennie Ash saw them and said how she'd love to see a Texan range. I started researching Texan food and couldn't wait to get cooking and eating.

Q: Being that you live in London, what is your relationship to Texas?

A: I've been to Houston once as a stop-over on a flight. My only memory is of going to Taco Bell and it wasn't that great! Now I know what Texan food is really like, I'd love to come over and try chicken fried steak or some ribs!

Q: Can you tell us about the process of creating the plates?

A: The plates are created by converting a photograph into a ceramic water-slide transfer which is then applied to bone china plates. They are then fired to around 1470 degrees Fahrenheit which makes the image bond with the glaze on the plate and become permanent.

Q: Of your sixteen plates, which one is your favorite and why?

A: This is a tough question. I really like the Fried Catfish. I love the chipotle ketchup smear and coleslaw patterns. It was hard to leave the last bit of hush puppy, they were so delicious! 

Q: Are there food dishes you regret not creating?

A: Ham with collard greens and black-eyed peas was originally on the list. But I decided to leave it at 10 meals. I'd love to explore desserts at another time. I can't wait to have a slice of Texan pecan pie one day.

Q: Did you actually eat the meals photographed or did you recreate the leftovers from scratch?

A: I ate all the meals. I'm someone who never leaves leftovers so I found it a challenge to deliberately leave some. I tried not to get too caught up in how the leftovers looked but I couldn't help but play with the composition on some of them. I've always seen leftovers as drawings. We all make expressive marks everyday, but with ketchup rather than charcoal.

Q: What are your upcoming plans?

A: I'd love to collaborate with restaurants in Houston and London and create plates of their signature dishes.

To viewmore work by artist Damaris Booth please visit her website at http://www.damarisbooth.com