frag­ile BEAUTY

Country Living (UK) - - Rural Artisans -

The del­i­cacy and re­silience of na­ture is never far from this maker’s mind, as she de­signs el­e­gant porce­lain lights by hand in her Cor­nish stu­dio words by jo leev­ers pho­to­graphs by penny win­cer

When I go for a walk, it’s rare for me not to bring some sort of trea­sure home,” Amy Cooper says. As a child, grow­ing up near Rock in Cornwall, she would search rock­pools for shells. Later in life, Amy moved to Brighton, where the al­to­gether dif­fer­ent coast­line of East Sus­sex, with its “star­tling white cliffs and beaches dot­ted with fos­sils”, made an im­pres­sion on her. And now, it’s the river­side paths near her home in the Cor­nish vil­lage of Tre­sil­lian that pro­vide in­spi­ra­tion for her work as a ce­ram­i­cist.

Amy lives and works at the early Vic­to­rian cot­tage and gar­den stu­dio she shares with her hus­band Gareth, daugh­ter Rosa, ten, and son Ithan, eight. Here, she cre­ates porce­lain lights that are il­lu­mi­nated with a tealight or an elec­tric bulb. Some re­sem­ble the or­ganic shapes of the sea urchins and mol­luscs that fas­ci­nated her as a child, while larger cylin­ders are dec­o­rated with a fine trac­ery of bare branches and birds con­jured up by her evening strolls along the river.

“Af­ter walk­ing our lurcher, Bri­die, I’ll sit qui­etly and draw for a while,” she says. What Amy aims to cap­ture in those sketches is an at­mos­phere: “Just as I might pocket a small shell on the beach, I’ll cap­ture the mem­ory of a fleet­ing mo­ment and try to pre­serve it.”

Amy’s work is rooted in both the fragility and re­silience of na­ture – a dual con­cept echoed by the very ma­te­rial she works in. Af­ter she fin­ished school, she spent time trav­el­ling be­fore re­turn­ing to her stud­ies in her twen­ties, tak­ing a de­gree in ceram­ics and sculp­ture at the Univer­sity of Wolver­hamp­ton. While there, she found

FROM ABOVE Amy and Ithan hunt for trea­sures by the river; her sketches are repli­cated on sten­cil card, then cut out by hand; Amy and hus­band Gareth out­side their stu­dio, with two slip-cast lights that are ready to be dec­o­rated; the river pro­vides con­stant in­spi­ra­tion for new de­signs

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