caroline swift studied industrial design (textiles) in scotland and worked for almost twenty years designing knitwear for luxury markets, working in new york, england and in italy as head of knitwear design for benetton. it was this rich experience and travelling the world extensively for research that led caroline to develop a curiosity for other areas of design such as food, ceramics and interiors.
after a sabbatical in 2003, on return to england, caroline started developing ideas and concepts for food for a book she was writing but she couldn’t source plates that she liked for the images. it was this intriguing relationship between food and tableware and how they influenced each other that led her to start making her own ceramics.
caroline’s approach to all areas of design is linked by one underlying philosophy, to create products that are pure and natural with beauty and integrity. her fashion background has given her the opportunity to look at new disciplines with a different perspective and the chance to enjoy her own personal approach to design in a totally uncompromising way.
this collection focuses on two areas, “too good to put in the cupboard” and further works with “glass installations”
“too good to put in the cupboard” explores the interaction between displaying delicate ceramic pieces as an art form on the wall and the practicalities of using the pieces in everyday life.
bare, unglazed bone china is presented on long rusted nails in a unique and innovative modular display system. structures of rusty nails are hammered into walls and the ceramics arranged in varying formats. this is an extremely simple, no fuss, eco approach to displaying the simplicity and beauty of such precious objects. the artwork has life because it can constantly change according to what is bought, added to and used at a given time. the pieces can be moved around and interchanged so the structure is constantly changing and evolving.
this is a challenge to our conventional expectations of how we think of our tableware, how we display it in our homes and above all how we live with and interact with our most treasured pieces.
all of the ceramics in the collection are made from bone-china and most of the work is un-glazed, to show the bone china in its highest beauty. this is an uncompromising and time consuming choice as the pieces must be dry-sanded, at a very delicate stage, to an egg shell finish before being placed in the kiln for the final firing. bone china is without exception the most challenging ceramic material to work with but it’s colour, beauty and strength after the final firing is unprecedented and allows it to be worked so thinly, whilst still retaining its strength. all pieces are made exclusively by hand, by caroline in the studio in barcelona.
“glass installations” is a further exploration of delicate hand-blown spheres of glass and their sculptural possibilities. tied crudely with raw, dark wires they hang from the wall or the ceiling either in dense groups or on a much larger scale are balanced to make exquisite and refined compositions of deep, rich colour.
the collection offers the opportunity to buy precious pieces as collector’s items in their own right or present them on a larger scale for installations in the home and public spaces.
see the gallery for further images from the collection and caroline’s portfolio of work