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