When asked why she prefers handbuilding over throwing clay, Hilary Green’s answer is simple; ‘The wheel makes everything too perfect, and my brain is not perfect, the world is not perfect. It is messy and complex, beautiful and surreal.’
In fact, ‘beautiful’ and ‘surreal’ are the perfect words to describe Hilary’s style, which is, in part, inspired by the work of illustrator Sir Quentin Blake (the artist known for bringing Roald Dahl’s beloved characters to life), as well as archaeology, architecture, seaweed, rocks, and ironwork.
‘I adored Quentin Blake’s illustrations as a child,’ explains Hilary. ‘And I still do. His economy of line, the movement, the joy and empathy that comes across in his work is perfection.’
Drawing has been something Hilary has always adored, but she didn’t start ceramics until 2016, after finishing her studies in Fine Art Photography.
‘I should’ve known I needed a more tactile medium when I used to skip the end of class to travel to my ceramics class,’ she says.
Hilary was working exclusively on the wheel until lockdown 2020, where, without access to one she started to experiment with hand-building, and in doing so stumbled across an art form that truly spoke to her.
‘It took me a while to realise that I was restricted by the wheel… I began making some large vessels and found that hand-building and mark making completed my drawing style. I guess it just takes time to find your soul medium,’ she says.
Now, Hilary works as a full-time artist, moulding and creating playful and organic sculptures with her hands. She’s developed a set of ‘practiced gestures’ she uses to achieve her signature marks and shapes, and sometimes spends up to two days working on her large coil vessels.
‘It’s like my hand does a dance when sculpting large pieces of clay,’ she explains.
Such work could not be created without a studio to match this creative energy. Hilary’s does not disappoint, with softly coloured silks draped on the walls, large shells and shell necklaces on display, and candles lit to ‘set the mood’.
‘It might be a shed, but it’s a magical shed at night time,’ she says.