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Mudbelly x Ssōne

Mud Belly x Ssōne


Phoebe Collings-James is Mudbelly and Mudbelly is the gut of her ceramics practice and research which is described as "a transformative, yard art sculpture space for my tender, haptic objects. Wheel-thrown functional vessels exist alongside hand built techniques, all interwoven with my sound work as I continue to study the form" 


Phoebe's first encounter with ceramics was in 2014 during the Nuove artist residency in Italy where she was immediately struck by the intensely transformative quality of ceramics and the haptic communication it encourages. Phoebe continued to study wheel thrown and hand built techniques while living in Brooklyn, enveloping ceramic forms into her performance work, installations and domestic objects. Phoebe has since moved home to East London, to continue her ceramics journey in the neighbourhood she grew up in.


We are proud to be stocking Mud Belly exclusively in our Chiltern Street store, where we display 4 specially chosen vessels from the Mud Belly archive.




When was the first time you felt called to do what you do?

I started making sculpture as a teenager, I had a sense from early on that ceramic was an impressionable somatic material and that the transformation of soil to stone was something magic. It wasn't until later in my twenties that I got the first opportunity to work with it, while on a specialist residency in Italy.

Who, or what, has been your greatest influence?

The Late ceramicist Doyle Lane has been an incredible influence on how I approach myself as an artist. I am in awe of his knowledge of the chemistry of glaze production, along with the beauty of his work and the dedicated holistic approach he had to his life as an artist.

Do you have any daily rituals?

I write in a journal every day, a page a day. I have been doing this since January 2019.

What clothing do you wear to work in?

Old t-shirts, white vests and silver basketball style shorts. All covered in ceramics residue - with a blue striped apron on top.

What’s your view from your workplace? What does it smell like? What can you hear?

I work in a large warehouse with an overhead light, so there is not so much looking out as looking up. It smells like clay, and when we are not being diligent enough also of clay dust. Most days you will hear the hum of potters wheels going, a distant radio and the odd conversation.

When you aren’t making art, what else do you make?

More recently I make food, learning to cook things deliciously has been quite a recent revelation. But mostly I make a mess. make love. make trouble. make a lot of noise. attempt to make peace with myself...

What do you do when you’re feeling uninspired?

In reality I lay on my bed staring at my phone. When I can draw myself out of this trance I walk in the forest near my house, watch films or read, especially returning to some of my favourite books. At the moment those are Beverley Buchanan 1978-1981 and Standing in Line Waiting for Death by CA Conrad.