Amanda Doidge

Experimental ceramic art


E17 Art Trail 2017

This year's art trail is bigger and better than ever! The theme is STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. You can find me at Venue 114 as part of the Village trail, 54 Church Hill (side entrance Woodbury Rd). I shall be opening my studio to the public for a preview night and all 3 weekends of the trail. As always there will be refreshments available in the gazebo!

Experimental ceramics by Amanda Doidge

This year in keeping with the STEAM theme I have lots of additional exciting events!

  • Private View on Thursday 1 June 6-9pm
  • Exhibition open
  • 3,4 June 1-7pm
  • 10,11 June 1-7pm
  • 17,18 June 1-7pm

Are you as good as gold? Do you have feet of clay?

Come and find out how many grams of gold and other elements you have in your body. Aimed at all ages. Open 1-7pm on 3,4,10,11,17,18 June.

Searching for the building blocks of life

Researchers from Queen Mary University of London, Dr David Quenard and Dr Izaskun Jimenez-Serra, will give a 10 min talk followed by Q and A, Sundays 2pm on 4,11,18 June.

Amino acids are organic compounds that play an essential role in the structure, metabolisms and physiology of cells in living organisms. More than 70 amino acids have been detected in meteorites and comets suggesting that the building blocks of life may have come from outer space. Researchers from Queen Mary University of London, Dr. David Quenard and Dr. Izaskun Jimenez-Serra, will explain how the building blocks of life may form at the earliest stages in Solar-type system formation.

Build your own molecule workshop

Dr David Quenard and Dr Izaskun Jimenez-Serra will give a workshop aimed at age 5 to adult (younger siblings welcome). Sundays 3pm on 4,11,18 June.

I am working alongside Queen Mary University of London who are sending two of their researchers, Dr Izaskun Jimenez-Serra and Dr David Quenard, to give talks on their work (see above for details) which thematically ties in with work that I have been doing. They have discovered prebiotic material in the dust between stars, and are looking to see the origins of life: was it seeded here on earth or did it arrive on earth from somewhere else? Life, it seems, started out as chemistry in rocks.

I am fascinated by how life has evolved from rock. How can we tell the precise stage when it becomes life and is no longer 'just' chemistry? I have been looking into the elements that make up clay and glaze materials, that are also found in humans and have a biological role. Some, like Lithium, are used as medicines.

This piece kill or cure is made of bone china, all the elements of which are found in humans: Silica, Alumina, Potassium, Sodium, Calcium and Phosphorous. I have included in the clay increasing amounts of Lithium. In ceramics, Lithium is normally used in the glaze. It lowers the melting point of silica. In medicine Lithium has to be given at a dose specific to the patient, and patients have to be very closely monitored. Too small a dose and it doesn’t work, too much and it can cause everything from paralysis to death. The difference between a medicine and a poison is the dose. In kill or cure, the gradual increases of the ‘dose’ illustrate the story of where the tipping point is. If you do not see the whole series but see the final cup in isolation it is almost unrecognisable as a cup.

The series of cups below is also made of bone china. I have made a mould and carved into it - repeatedly carving into the plaster mould and recasting the clay until gradually the cup disappears, consumed by the rock. Displayed the other way around, it seems as though a cup is emerging from the rock. I was inspired by a story about Michelangelo, who was asked by a small boy why he was chipping away at a piece of marble: his answer was 'because there is an angel inside.'

The angel inside Bone china 2017.

E17 Art Trail 2015

Once again I am taking part in the E17 art trail, which is a summer event this time round.

You will find me at Venue 88, 54 Church Hill, entrance via the side gate in Woodbury Road. I shall be opening my studio to the public for a preview night and all three weekends of the trail. As always there will be refreshments available in the gazebo.

  • Preview evening on 28 May 6-9 pm
  • 30/31 May 1-7pm
  • 6/7 June 1-7 pm
  • 13/14 June 1-7pm

To find out more about the trail and to plan your own trail go to

My work this year draws on inspiration from my grandfather’s WWII memoirs, butterfly collecting and Swiss psychologist Herman Rorschach. The pieces on display - which have also been exhibited in the Tokarska Gallery - form two distinct groups of works with linking themes.

1. The Collector

This series of small objects, revealed as though just unwrapped in a tiny theatre of their own, all bear the names of moths or butterflies. The titles perhaps change how you think about the objects or how you think about the creatures thus named. Each piece has a different page from my grandfathers war memoirs silk-screened on (while the clay was still flat) using white clay slip.

Soldier Danaus Gilippus Stoneware with coloured slips silkcreen print and glaze. Approx. L ,28cm, H, 11cm, D 16cm.

2. Rorschach Butterflies

This wall piece is based on the work of Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach who invented a test to examine personality and emotional functioning. The test consists of a series of inkblots where he put ink on a sheet of paper and then folded it in half making symmetrical blots of ink. The subject looks at the blots and says what they can see in them. On this basis a diagnosis is made.

In my version I imagine a butterfly and moth obsessive coming into contact with the Rorschach test and deciding they are all butterflies and moths. Why not? Who are we to say they are wrong, after all the blots are random. The titles of my version of Rorschach are not innocent however, as the real names of butterflies and moths I have used reveal human playfulness and over extrapolation on the part of scientists naming them; the ‘Cynical Quaker’ moth’s name says more about human culture than anything integral to the moth itself.

Rorschach butterflies Hand built porcelain with ceramic transfers.

E17 Art Trail 2014

I showed work in the E17 Art Trail in 2014, opening up the studio for the customary 3 weekends

Once again the trail was popular with 4000 artists showing in 170 venues.