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Stephan Aal


I make ceramics in my own workshop in rural County Durham. I make both functional and sculptural objects in stoneware and am keen to make them as interesting, unusual and satisfying to hold or use. Each piece is unique and I spend much of my time thinking about and creating that uniqueness. I am strongly influenced by the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, a set of aesthetic principles rooted in Zen Buddhism. These ideas stress simplicity, traditional materials and beauty arising from well executed functionality. I have been creating my own Art in a variety of media including Ceramics and Carved and Painted Wood since 2010. Previously I worked as a Manager and Producer in two theatre companies which created shows for young audiences. I still do design and making for theatre projects. I also ran a festival of theatre for children and young people. I have worked as an Arts Administrator in a Dublin Arts Centre and as an Arts Officer in a Local Authority. I started my practice in a shared studio. An important part of that was the company and comments of my fellow artists ... we helped each other and ideas and collaborations occurred that would never have happened working totally alone. I greatly value that time and am grateful to my fellow artists. I now work in my own studio. Although this gives me focus and the ability to get absorbed into the process, I still need the stimulus of discussion with others. I see the NPA as a way of making those connections and want to contribute to discussions and shared projects just as much as I want to gain support and constructive criticism.

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