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Tanya McCallin

Her quiet materials: Claire Benn Art textiles 2021

Space, light, balance 2021

Warp, weft, stitch, thread 2021

Monochrome 2021

Holding Space: A void, is a powerful notion: the held space, contained within the hollow volume of a form - an emptiness.


Tanya McCallin is a studio potter based in London, with a professional background in Theatre and Opera Design. Although born in England, Tanya grew up traveling frequently between Europe and Australia and after a period studying Architecture at RMIT in Melbourne, returned to England to study Theatre Design at the Central School of Art and Design. In 2015 she completed the City Lit Ceramics Diploma.


Making pottery has become a process of distillation, simplifying many disparate interests and influences. Tanya's making is based upon craftsmanship, time and material enquiry, in a way seeking out the essence of the stuff, using porcelain, stoneware and earthenware clays, some highly refined, others betraying their geological origins. Porcelain, when fired to a high temperature, is fine, white, pure and sophisticated, requiring a particular delicacy and detail in it’s handling. The surface is often polished to a pristine, almost flesh smooth finish using diamond pads or glazed with a soft transparent glaze. Stoneware and earthenware clays are more robust, expressing their nature as raw earth, and can be worked upon by the application of organic materials and earth metals, and transformed by the heat of a kiln to produce objects that are individual, and whose presence is unequivocal.


The work is thrown and sometimes hand coiled using the vessel to express a quality of strong, quiet permanence. There is an energy and vitality in the upward thrust of work made on the wheel that calms with the slower pace of coiling. Within the body is a memory of the rhythms and tensions between the sensual pressure of the hands and the materiality of clay. The forms are simple, elemental and essentially universal. Some are open bowl forms, others are tall, thrown and assembled cylinders, to become objects with particular haptic and aesthetic qualities. The processes are many and risky but it is the combination of idea, time, craftsmanship and material knowledge that makes a rewarding piece. Sometimes the hazard can be used to express fragility itself.


Tanya is interested in the edges of pots, the balance and poise of their form, structure and surface, but also in their group dynamics, in their relationship to each other and the architectural spaces they inhabit and rest upon. The elements of light and shadow upon the convex or concave surface of pots and the resulting perception of their sculptural complexities give objects vitality and resonance; their place and purpose

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