A Conversation with Amos Denton

29 March 2013

One of our Volunteer Gallery Assistants, Becky Sexton, interviews Amos Denton, a ceramicist and jeweller exhibiting in Down our Street. Enter our photography competition for a chance to win a hand-crafted brooch by Amos.


Could you tell me about your current work? Is this different from your past projects? Or would you describe your work as an ongoing process?

At the moment my work combines ceramics and photography into very simple brooch forms. There are a number of ranges, which each have a theme, and have between 12-25 pieces within each range. The work created over the last 3 years is very different simply by the materials and processes used. Previous work has been much more traditional in nature such as acid etching or stone set jewellery. I can’t imagine there will never be ceramics involved in some form but it is a relatively new avenue for me over the course of my art career so I would certainly expect to return to other materials such as metal and wood.

Can you tell me what led you to make ceramics and jewellery, or as seen in Down Our Street, combine the two?

The most successful pieces I created as part of my degree were etched metal. From that I moved onto three-dimensional metalwork, which then led me onto silver jewellery. However, I had used ceramics across my degree and wanted to return to it in order to have a new challenge, and so the two amalgamated. Personally, I am always drawn to brooches and find them very underrepresented in the jewellery world. They give me the perfect form in which to show my photographs.

Where did you learn you skills?

My degree was in crafts so we did core subjects in metal, wood and plastics and then had options to do projects in glass, ceramics, textiles and product design. Since university I have endeavoured to do as many courses as possible, be they evening classes or formal qualifications. I think it is critical to always challenge yourself to learn more in order to have a fuller life.

What or who are your biggest influences?

I seem to always revert to nature whatever medium I am working in. If not nature then just observations on everyday objects; seeing beauty where others may see none.

Are there particular themes that run through your work?

Not as far as I can see although people have commented that whatever work they see of mine it does have a particular style.

How did you decide to become an artist?

When I was 13 I refused to do art GCSE as I knew I loved it too much to have it spoiled by doing things other people wanted me to do and doing it for an exam! Rather a sweeping statement for one so young, but I’ve always been drawn to art and making. It’s not necessarily something I could explain, but I have to constantly be using my hands creating otherwise I feel all out of sorts.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

You have to make lots of small ripples in order to be able to create one big ripple.

Where is your ideal space to work? Do you prefer working alone, or with other artists?

I have a shed, it’s only 6ft x 8ft and has been my home for the last 3 years, but this summer I am installing a new one as I am simply running out of space and that doesn’t make for a great working environment. I’m quite happy working on my own, but I run a handmade crafts market so that I am still able to meet like-minded artisans as I think it’s critical as an artist to be able to bounce ideas around and to keep up with trends and contemporary practices. I have to have objects and images around to help inspire me, I couldn’t work in a completely white space; something has to be your starting point even if it takes you off on a completely different tangent.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

Over the last 6 months I have been refining my ranges in order to give a much stronger presence, so at the moment it is hard to say if there will be any new work created for the public domain, although I do work in my sketchbooks most days. Concurrently, I have gone back to art school this year and hope to do my MA in the very near future so who knows where that may take me or whether the work created there will become part of what I produce for others to see and own, or whether it will just influence the materials I choose to work in.