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We are excited to announce that our regular-ish feature - Sunday Sessions is back, although now under a different name, Skomer Sessions. The premise remains the same, to interview and chat to other creatives whose work we love.
I am happy to share the first Skomer Session interview of 2022 with you. Nehal Aamir, is a ceramic artist living and working in Manchester, and also features in our campaign imagery for the new All Day collection shoot.
Since discovering Nehal's work last year, I have been in awe of her talent. Nehal's ability to create art that is incredibly intricate is inspiring, work that is full of wonderful detail and translates her experiences, culture and community.
We hope you enjoy discovering Nehal’s work as much as we did.
Tell us your background. Where did you grow up and where did you study?
I was born in Pakistan, moved to the UK when I was quite young and I’ve lived in Manchester since then. I decided to move to London, where I attended Central Saint Martins University to study BA Ceramic Design.
Where do you now live and work?
After graduating, I moved back to Manchester to set up my own studio practice. Having enjoyed my time studying ceramics and learning so much about the medium, I wanted to pursue my ceramics career and develop it further.
Did you always have a love of ceramics?
I was introduced to creativity from a young age by my mother, who encouraged me by demonstrating traditional craft techniques. I was always trying out and experimenting with multiple mediums, and clay was one that has stuck with me ever since. These memories have always stayed with me and have built a love for ceramics and its hands-on-practice.
What is your favourite piece from your collection of work?
My favourite pieces are from the ‘Place and Identity’ series, which I created for my University final year degree show. I really enjoyed the research element of it, as well as the making process. I carried out my research by interviewing the Muslim communities living in London, asking them about their experiences of living in a multicultural society and how it effects their religious and cultural beliefs. From these I created drawings which I then transferred onto ceramic tiles I made. I hand painted the words from our conversations as well as colourful patterns and symbols that associate with my Pakistani culture, trying to preserve memories through traditional craft techniques. These ceramic pieces tell a story of my past and present, as well as giving a voice to the people who are unheard. This is one of my works that really connected with me and communicated visually to the audience. The ‘Place and Identity’ series gave me the opportunity to have great conversations and meet some wonderful people.
What are the biggest influences on your work?
My work is driven from my heritage which involves my Pakistani roots and elements that connect with me the most, through memories of Pakistan as a child. My work is heavily influenced by my identity as a Muslim Women living in British society. I try to celebrate and talk about my daily experiences through creating exciting, bright and patterned visuals.
What are your plans for the future within your work?
I plan on creating work that challenges me as an artist and involves people engaging with my pieces and perhaps sharing their stories as well. I feel like this way of creating would be a great way to form connections and this would help develop a supportive community where people are encouraged to appreciate craft.
Where are your favourite places to go for inspiration?
I gather my inspiration from my surroundings, observing communities and having conversations with people I meet. I also enjoy going to art galleries and exhibitions. I like to visit my home country as much as I can because it’s a part of me that I would like to keep alive through my work.
What is entertaining you at the moment? What are you reading, eating, listening to, watching or visiting?
Lately I have been very interested in designing and making my own clothes because fashion is such a huge part of my life and it's something that highlights and celebrates my identity. There’s truly a great sense of satisfaction that you get from seeing yourself create something from scratch.
What is your most treasured possession?
My favourite item would be my vest jacket that was gifted to me from my mothers hometown in Pakistan. The reason why it's so special to me is because it's all hand embroidered incorporating fine stitching techniques, delicate needlework and exciting colour combinations. Wearing it reminds me of where I come from and who I am.
What is your favourite piece from the Skomer Studio collection?
I love all the pieces so much, I think they are beautifully hand crafted and so unique. But if I had to pick one it would be the XL Cuff Hoops in 9kt Gold & Sterling Silver. I think they are perfect for everyday wear, whether you're at home or going out. They are a great way to accessorise and brighten up your look. I think the two colour detail makes this piece very special.
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