Dr.Natasha Mayo

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Mayo’s approach to both academic and practical research is essentially interdisciplinary, examining the particular, the shared and the emerging dialogues arising between theory and practice, two and three dimensions and ceramics and film. She currently has a studio in Cardiff at Fireworks Clay Studios

Current Research

She has two main areas of research: 1) academic: the identification of creative pedagogies: examining how the development of ideas can be understood according to structures that underpin language in general; understanding the progression of ideas as containing similar sequences of connections and associations between values 2) studio: exploring the surface of the body as a milieu, a place onto which we project identities, societal, gendered and cultural thoughts and feelings.

Academic: see Creative Strategies

Studio: Previous work has examined the potential of ceramics to expressively render flesh and skin; how an artwork can be understood as an interface of relative sensorial or emotional connections between the materials of the artwork and the sensations of the body. This has broadened to encompass the idea of skin as metaphor for bodily states, specifically, how the surface of the body might speak of our interaction with the world. Most recent practice explores how mark making can evidence pre reflexive thought, and how children’s drawings can be employed both as symbol and direct recordings of our first encounters with the world.


Dr Natasha Mayo is a practitioner and researcher in the discipline of ceramics, freelance writer and lecturer at the National Centre for Ceramics Studies in Wales, Cardiff School of Art (UWIC) since 2004. Her background includes: BA: fine art painting (1995), teacher: secondary (1997 – 1999) MA in ceramics (2000) practice-led PhD examining phenomenology as a mode of aesthetic analysis (2004).

Mayo is a figurative ceramicist and has exhibited internationally with work in both private and public collections. She was instrumental in establishing the peer reviewed Zelli Porcelain Prize and was awarded the first prize in 2002. In 2003 she was the editor of Issue 56 of Ceramics in Society on the subject of contemporary figurative ceramics and is currently reviews editor of Interpreting Ceramics(on-line peer reviewed journal). She co-convened the fragmented figure conference and adjoining exhibition in 2005 and subsequently devised and created an associated scholarly website. In 2008 she received the ‘Innovations in Teaching’ award from the Higher Education Academy and the JORUM prize for her use of film as a pedagogical tool for the learning and teaching of art practice. In 2010 she received funding to house and develop these resources in an interactive VLE and co- developed additional resources for each of the key bodies of knowledge taught onto the ceramics programme. A member of the Centre for Ceramics and Creative Pedagogies research themes (WIRAD) she presents internationally on both ceramics and learning and teaching.

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Social Potentials of Making the Creative Process Visible

The project aims to identify evidence of how children infuse meaning into their imagery, both as individuals and groups. To achieve this, a specific context has been identified that the children can respond to; a shared context that enables identification and construction of a vocabulary of marks and symbols. This research centres on drawings created from a series of workshops with children from Bettws Primary School, Bridgend, as they come to terms with the destruction of their junior block when it burnt to the ground in July this year.
The workshops will take place with children at key stages in artistic development, namely pre-reflexive, schematic and representational, in order to examine thoughts and ideas that are spontaneous and gestural as well as more cognisant articulations of the event and its consequences.
​The remit of the workshops will be to examine how creative play can transport the mind from one reality to another; from the harsh reality of the children’s experience of the fire at Bettws into the more liberated or suggestible world of the drawn image. Allowing us to see incidence of play and at the same time appreciate the child’s wider psychological world. These worlds will be explicitly traversed, as this is where therapeutic properties lie, enabling objectivity, a new perspective from which to view familiar thoughts and feelings. Specifically, children will be facilitated in creative play through drawing as a means to encourage the progression of their ideas.

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  2. Surface Experimentation Leave a comment
  3. First Figure Leave a comment
  4. Can the activity of thinking / idea development be rendered tangible, be given form – Initial experiments: Leave a comment
  5. Thinking Loops: extending our capacity to think… Leave a comment