Frances Priest studied ceramics at Edinburgh College of Art (1995-1999), establishing her first studio in Edinburgh in 1999: a city in which she still lives and works. Drawing has always been a central element of her practice – both as a form of research and as an active component of finished pieces. Early works showed a debt to the abstractions of early modernism and the rhythms of contemporary dance.
Recent works have developed from a close study of and fascination with the language of ornament from
different periods and cultures. Intricate, richly patterned surfaces are explored through clay vessels and specially commissioned architectural installations such as The Tiled Corridor (Royal Edinburgh Hospital 2018). Museum collections include: The National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh; The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; V&A Museum, London; The McManus, Dundee; International Museum of Ceramics Faenza, Italy; International Museum of Contemporary Ceramics, Ichon Province, Korea.
Works exhibited in Lines from Scotland are taken from the Patterns of Flora: Mapping Seven Raasay Habitats (2015), a project commissioned by ATLAS Arts.
“For this work I wanted to begin at the beginning, developing a language of ornament that originated from a Scottish landscape, distilling colour, textures and form into a collection of decorative motifs. The work was developed in close collaboration with ATLAS Arts, Raasay House and most importantly Stephen Bungard, Vice County Recorder for the Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland. Through working with Stephen my experience of the Scottish landscape was transformed. Striding out to scale Munros and traverse ridges moved into a slower, detailed pace: my perspective downward, away from grand vistas, toward individual details of plants and flowers. Final works were influenced by this shift of perspective, leading to a series of ceramic architectural details, door handles, tiles, finger-plates, that slowly reveal themselves as visitors explore Raasay House. The accompanying illustrated map of botanical walks encourages deeper engagement with the surrounding landscape, revealing the links between ornament and place.”