Hayley Potter MA (RCA)

Hayley Potter is a British Artist & Writer working and living in Dorset on the beautiful South West Coast of England. She trained at the Royal College of Art, Norwich School of Art & Design, the Kent Institute of Art & Design and the Imperial College, London. She was taught by artists and writers including Quentin Blake.  At art school she was very inspired by artists including Kiki Smith and Paula Rego who imaginatively explore our relationship with nature through anthropomorphism.  She enjoyed learning more about illustrators and writers such as Beatrix Potter who are passionate about animals and land.  Literature and folklore continue to be a constant inspiration.

Hayley's writing feeds her visual works and the two are often produced together. Her writing is currently mostly poetry and nature writing.

Her work has been exhibited, commissioned and collected internationally. Collections include the Victoria & Albert Museum and The Feminist Library, London alongside many private collections. Clients include The National Trust, Nurture & Bloom Magazine, The Poetry Society, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council, Notre Dame Magazine (USA), The Learned Pig Magazine, Idea Coutore (USA), Amelia’s Magazine (UK), Varoom Magazine, and Intellect Books.

Hayley has delivered lectures about her work across the UK and in S.Korea and Japan. She taught for several art schools, universities, charities and galleries over ten years and developed a creative research portfolio about narrative, nature, folklore, museum collections and the visual arts. This work informed a new chapter in Hayley’s creative practice. Hayley fell in love with the slow but beautiful process of making ceramics, and after swapping her Mac for a kiln, she introduced hand built ceramics to her mixed media studio in 2015.  

After so many years of admiring how stories have been preserved and told across ceramics in our museums, galleries and homes Hayley considers it to be a privilege to contribute to that ancient lineage of making.

Alongside creating pieces that involve a complex range of colours and unique processes, Hayley has developed The Wild Blue Collection. A timeless eco conscious collection of hand built semi-porcelain ceramics, original artworks, greetings cards and prints inspired by the Folklore of Plants and Animals.  The collection continues to grow, now including some specially commissioned pieces including those inspired by National Trust sites. This work has been featured in the World of Interiors, House & Garden and has been exhibited at Top Drawer London.  Hayley continues to dream up a world of magical eco-conscious wild creations intending to inspire people to fall in love with our natural world and the stories that unite us.  Because we all protect what we love.

Hayley’s work is available to buy through the studio shop on this website and selected galleries and stockists. A wholesale catalogue of the Wild Blue collection is now available by post, email or by opening an account on this website.  

If you would like to see a portfolio, work together, enquire about a commission, exhibition or wholesale then please send a message via the contact page.

Artist's Statement

My work is informed and inspired by the wild, folklore, the magic of the everyday and the stories that give us a unique sense of ownership over the land and spaces we visit. My most recent self initiated work explores how image making, writing and ceramics can cohabit to communicate narratives and ideas about women in nature, and the folklore of plants and animals as they relate to symbols of self-realisation and transformation.

 

Kind words

“Hayley has written some truly mesmerising pieces for our Nurture & Bloom magazine. They are always fascinating, insightful and heart-felt too. She manages to put herself into her writing in a way that is both engaging and soulful, whilst imparting nuggets of information on folklore, creativity and the more esoteric life questions. Our readers have always expressed how much her pieces have resonated with them, and her articles are remembered long after first reading. She has been a huge asset to our publication.”

K. Cullen, Editor, Nurture & Bloom Magazine

“Thank you so much for your time and hard work in creating this National Trust inspired range – you are a joy to work with!…Great to have such a positive collaboration!”

P. Maidment, Manager, National Trust

“Thank you for sharing this work with us, we are all so taken by it!…Congratulations…I am sure your products are going to do really well.”

J. Revell, Manager, National Trust

“…our team selected Hayley to feature because she creates the most beautiful ceramics. Her work is inspired by wild folklore and the stories that give us a unique sense of ownership over the land and spaces we visit. I really encourage you to check it out, its really gorgeous and you can really see the Celtic nature inspiration…Theres such a purity behind her work.”

Rebecca Campbell, Writer, Artist, Tutor, Feminine Leader

“… there remain a few key threads that continue to characterise Hayley’s style: warmth is one of them – there’s a joy to all of her work – and also a kind of openness to the unusual: “the magic of the everyday,” in her words. What strikes me too is her affinity with creatures (animal, mythical) and sensitive attunement to the individual personalities of these creature-subjects. There is rarely anything generic; each animal is its own entity, with its own history and hopes.”

Tom Jeffreys, Writer, Editor & Curator

“We were delighted with Hayley’s elegant, lyrical image for the cover of Poetry Review. It’s been a pleasure working with her.”

M. Sims, Publishing Manager, The Poetry Society

"Hayley's approach is fresh and playful with an intellectual depth that captures the spirit of the story."

K. Prugh, Editor, Notre Dame Magazine

“I found your ideas very inspiring”

Professor Dame Marina Warner

“It was with great pleasure that the Museum of Witchcraft & Magic (MWM) welcomed Hayley Potter back to the Museum where she completed a residency in 2014. Hayley’s closely observed illustrations of the magical collections at MWM deserved a space of their own – and we were finally able to give them the attention they deserved in a pop-up exhibition ,‘Drawing to Discover: The British Witch’ in the Museum Library during a very busy midsummer weekend in July 2016.

Hayley’s drawings of traditional West Country spirit houses and love charms – all constructed from everyday materials which were readily available to the twentieth century house-wife or labourer alike – were part of Hayley’s wider project to re-visualize the British witch for a new audience. According to the comments I heard from visitors during the exhibition, it was clear that Hayley’s view of the collection helped visitors to see the objects in new way. The choice of subject matter highlighted how natural and everyday things can be a portal to another world of spirit and meaning – and the execution of her drawings emphasised that this spirit-world and witchcraft need not be the decayed dangerous darkness that is so often portrayed in popular culture.

Through ceramics, posters, sketchbooks and large works on paper, Hayley’s work is a reappraisal of the figure of the witch that is broadly similar to the Romantic rediscovery of witchcraft in the nineteenth century where witches, broomsticks and cats became common motifs on everything from crockery to wallpaper. Hayley’s work however emphasises woman in nature, and the folklore of plants and animals as they relate to symbols of self-realization and transformation. It was fantastic to see people so engaged with Hayley’s work and with the process of drawing itself – Hayley drew and painted in her sketchbooks throughout the exhibition and children and adults alike were enthralled to see creativity in action.

The exhibition was very well attended, as was the Candlelit Evening event on the Saturday during which Hayley hung some of her illustrations next to the original objects in the Museum. This juxtaposition of candlelight and magical material was very effective and gave the drawings a new lease of life. I am happy to say that this was one of our busiest events ever and it was due in no small part to Hayley’s exhibition in the Library creating a sense of buzz and excitement for visitors, many of which attended both events.”

Dr. Peter Hewitt, Museum Collections Researcher, Curator & Manager

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