Alice Mara is a ceramic artist with over twenty years’ experience and is widely acclaimed for her skilled craftsmanship and innovative designs. She is confident and ambitious in her work and has won industry awards including the Ella Doran Award for Best New Designer, the Queensbury Hunt Award for innovative use of ceramics, and the Royal Academy of Scottish Art Award for Best Female Sculptor
Alice’s work has been exhibited at The Royal Academy, Christies and Fortnum & Mason in London, at the New York Print Fair, and in galleries in Paris and Italy. She has undertaken commissions for museums and galleries including The Hayward Gallery, The William Morris Museum, Sheffield Museum and Brighton Pavilion, and has created work for clients as far afield as Beijing and Aberystwyth. Her work is featured in numerous publications including You Magazine, Elle, Ceramic Review and Printmaking Today. She has a Degree and Masters in Ceramics and taught pottery for over ten years to University students across the South East. Alice’s commercial success has meant she now concentrates on what she loves most, undertaking unique commissions for individual clients looking for distinctive pieces of art.
Born in Walthamstow, Alice was exposed to the world of printmaking and ceramic art from an early age. Her artist father, Tim Mara, was an accomplished print-maker and Professor of Ceramics at the Royal College of Art. His work – and untimely death aged 48 – continue to be huge influences for Alice. From helping her father in his garden studio as a child, to exhibiting her own work alongside his at London’s Eagle Gallery in 2010, Alice still finds inspiration in his teaching and passion for creativity. She is a self-confessed lover of the quirky, colourful and sometimes absurd. How apt then that the Mara & Mara exhibition was opened by Grayson Perry dressed as Alice in Wonderland.
“From creating clay horse heads at the age of eight, I have always loved the excitement and reward of opening the kiln door to reveal my latest creation.”
Art as expression of emotion
Alice has spent her career developing the relationship between form, function and decoration, and has an insatiable appetite for new challenges. She experimented with printing methods before perfecting the art of realising photography in three dimensions, a complex and painstaking process. Her previous work features the architecture of London, Brighton and Eastbourne, capturing the colour, culture and character of these places. Her ceramic pieces offer a narrative of the lives led in these towns which, through the subtle use of symbolism, hint at the emotional backdrop of the residents.
Alice views the hallmarks of a ‘great work of art’ as being well made, functional and conveying a message or aesthetic that provokes a pleasant reaction. The loss of her father from her family life has informed Alice’s latest work in bespoke ceramic houses, which she hopes will help crystallize other people’s precious memories of family and home.
“There is something so wonderful in watching the enjoyment of my clients as we prepare a ceramic home in secret, especially for their loved one.”
When she is not busy working in her studio, Alice loves to travel, and finds inspiration in foreign architecture and urban patterns. She is also a seasoned stand-up comedian - and not the only one with a degree in Ceramics (Johnny Vegas has one too). It’s no surprise that Alice’s clients always walk away with a smile on their face.