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Vivien Phelan



About Vivien

During a successful nursing career, I joined a Brunel University evening class for two years wishing to understand more about clay art, this lead me to Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College to study and achieve a B.A (Hons) in ceramics with glass, with extra credits in metal work and jewellery in 2006.

In July 2020 I took part in" Home is where the art is" on BBC1 with Nick Knoles. This changed my life completely and meant I spent lots of time chatting to people who wanted to commission a piece of ceramic art, it has been most enjoyable.

The program is still available and is also on

Clay is a very relaxing, tactile medium. I have always had an interest in the human body and much of my work is in this direction. I mostly enjoy the process of ‘throwing’ (using a potters wheel) but inclined to throwing colourful figures.

My smaller, whimsical figures are mostly based on quirkiness of English sayings.

My work has found it’s way to many different countries and exhibited in several galleries. I successfully reached the final stages of the BBC program ‘where is your Monet’

What inspires you?
My inspiration starts from people and the mixture of Victorian statuettes and the English language sayings.


Tell us about a memorable exhibition or creative event you experienced.
Possibly my most memorable exhibition was in my ceramic beginnings at Brunel University. All the evening art classes put on an exhibition and sale, it was a lovely show and I got my first ever commissions.


What is your favourite medium or artist’s tool to work with and why?
My favourite medium is clay which I enjoy working on the potter’s wheel which is usually associated with mugs and bowls, but I prefer to “throw” then to manipulate it to make new forms. Clay is a very tactile and relaxing medium.


What do you think art offers society?
Art should have the ability to give visual pleasure, one day it will be a point of reference in the history of our time.


What experiences enabled you to develop your skills as an artist?
A career in nursing with plenty of travelling gave me lots of opportunity in people watching. From there I went back to university to do a degree in ceramic and glass which gave me the opportunity to do a student exchange with the United States with an amazingly interested tutor and many visits to exhibitions.


What do you love most about being an artist?
This is a very difficult question to answer as I think it is a very difficult career as right from the beginning it is completely in your hands, the idea, the planning, the making, the selling. Each piece is “your baby “. That is what makes it so pleasurable to sell the piece directly to a customer or hearing from them later.


What is the best bit of advice you came across?
Enjoy what you do.

What do you want to achieve as an artist?

As a 3D artist it is more difficult to get the exposure and I would like to achieve the freedom of showing everywhere I wish to show.

Favourite way to unwind?
Love being outdoors with the dog or playing golf with friends.

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