Tessa Eastman

London, United Kingdom

Ceramicist Tessa Eastman was born in London in 1984. She studied at London’s Wimbledon School of Art and earned a BTEC National Diploma in Foundation Studies of Art in 2003. From 2003 to 2006, she attended the University of Westminster in pursuit of a Bachelor’s degree in Ceramics. From 2002 to 2007, she worked in London and the south of France as an assistant to noted British ceramicist Kate Malone. Between 2004 and 2006, she spent summers working with glass artist Andrew Logan, textile designer Zandra Rhodes, and potter Sue Binns.

Eastman established her eponymous studio in 2005 in West London in an Old Gas Works building. In 2015, she joined Manifold, a collective studio based under an East London railway arch and founded in 2010 by a group of emerging artists and designers. Her studio mates—whose focuses range from sculpture and installation to digital art, product design, teaching, and more—initially met at the Royal College of Art and work both independently and collaboratively. Eastman holds a Master’s degree in Ceramics from the Royal College of Art (2015).

Eastman works by hand in clay, using multiple techniques to create complex ceramic structures. Her pieces are characterized by a curious, often playful ambiguity, frequently inspired by microscopic structural details found in the natural world. According to Eastman: “Fixing ungraspable, transformative, and natural states of growth is crucial to my aesthetic. The strange otherworldliness seen in the natural world transports me away from the mundane, and it is my intention to make a fixed ceramic form seem alive. I strive to evoke awareness of life's impermanence. This is achieved by creating sculptures where there is a repetitive growth pattern that mutates to produce tension. The contrast of geometry and irregularity [as well as] order and chaos within a work portrays congruence and conflict. This dialogue conjures up ideas around the impermanence of human emotions. Time is devoted to glaze testing and multiple firing, as it is through color and surface that pieces develop depth of character.”

Her sculptures are included in several private collectors’ homes, and her pieces have been commissioned and presented by the financial firms Gresham Private Equity (2006) and Abacus (2003). Her work has also been presented by numerous galleries, both in the UK and abroad. Notable exhibitions to date include, among others, Lost Utopia at Fitzrovia Gallery (London, 2015-2016); In Support of Eating at Sketch Restaurant (London, 2015); Jonathan Ross Christmas and Spring Shows at Gallery 286 in (London, 2012-2015); Five Decades of Harrow Ceramics at Contemporary Applied Arts (London, 2012).