Figment Ceramics is a ceramic design studio based in rural County Down, founded in 2016 by designer – maker Jakki Trainor. Jakki’s artwork focuses on flora, fauna and folklore and the ability of clay to hold marks.
The essence of Jakki’s work is encapsulated in the word ‘figment’.
Figment (noun): something produced by the imagination
In all her creations Jakki draws inspiration from a love of nature and folklore, producing illustrative ceramics that depict both real and imagined flora and fauna.
Jakki’s passions for storytelling, folklore, pattern and impressed decoration are combined to build her trademark style along with her palette of shimmering green and blue glazes. Jakki aims to tell a story in every tile and panel, beginning with reality and then taking the viewer on a journey into their own imagination.
Jakki spent three years studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Craft Design, Ceramics at the University of Ulster, Belfast and relished the opportunities it provided for working in both two and three dimensions, surface pattern, functionality, decoration, mark making and experimentation. Some 30 years later, Jakki finally feels she has found her feet and is now creating the work that everything she studied for was leading up to. Current work reveals her ongoing love of pattern and colour, the influences of Art Nouveau, African art and stained glass that were briefly researched in her university years, now coming back, and asking to be taken further. Her enduring love of nature, animals and folklore that couldn’t quite find the right direction at college are now being developed into successful outcomes that represent how she feels about the world around her.
Jakki lives and works on the edge of the Mourne Mountains in rural County Down in that wonderful space between the mountains and the sea, relishing the wealth of inspiration the countryside and coastal environments offer her work. The landscapes, animal inhabitants and their related folklore stories provide endless sources of inspiration for her uniquely handcrafted artworks. A keen scuba diver during her university years, Jakki has also turned to the sea for subject matter in her ‘Shoal’ Collection, featuring fish, whales, jellyfish and the ocean itself.
Since 1995 Jakki has taught Art and Design to a great many students developing minds and skills and helping prepare individuals for their own journey into third level art education. She has sought to inspire a love of creativity, playful experimentation and skill development amongst her students and has enjoyed sharing her own new discoveries and techniques with successive years of young people.
Jakki sums up her work saying, ‘My current range of work feels like a culmination of all I have learned in the last 30 years. It celebrates the ability of clay to hold marks with the careful impressions and surface patterns. It celebrates the chemistry of glaze making in its sometimes vibrant, sometimes subtle colouring and merging of glazes. It celebrates both the simplicity and complexity of nature in the shaping of the clay to represent the world I see and imagine.’
The studio is currently closed to visitors due to Covid restrictions.
Blue Beans, Castlewellan
Craft Barn, Carlingford
Craft NI, Belfast
Cuan Crafts, Portaferry
FE McWilliam Gallery, Banbridge
Forget-me-not, Donegal Town
In Klover, Hillsborough
Kingfisher Gallery, Killyleagh
Mimi By The Sea, Newcastle
No 6 Queen Street, Coleraine
Omagh Craft Collective, Omagh
Puffin Gallery, Ballycastle
The Conservatory, Killinchy
The Craft Room, Comber
Walled City Crafters, Derry
2020 Art, Whitehead
Belfast Potter’s Market, Writers’ Square, Belfast, 8 August 2021
Ceramics demonstration and Meet the Maker event at The Hub, Saintfield, 17 August 2021