Beachcombing helps ceramicist win GA Award for Excellence

A ceramicist from Holmfirth in West Yorkshire has won The GA’s Award for Excellence at the British Craft Trade Fair.

The Nautilus Collection – which scooped the prize for Hilary Simms – was inspired by shells and bones she collected on a deserted beach in The Gambia.

The judge was Stone the Crows! owner John Allan – a ceramics’ expert and enthusiast – who was extremely impressed by the winning pieces, which are brought to life by the raku-fired finish.

Isabel Martinson, chief executive of The GA, said: “These were stand-out products at the show. Geared towards the gallery end of the market, they are already selling well as gifts and collectables and therefore meet our requirement that the winning entry is commercially viable.

“Feedback at the fair indicated that there is still a demand for higher-end products as well as giftware under £10.”

Hilary Simms worked in a small, family-run industrial ceramics workshop before setting up her own studio.

She commented: “I was very surprised to win The GA award. It’s the first time I’ve exhibited at the British Craft Trade Fair and there was a lot of interest in my work from really good galleries.

“I am very busy at the moment – and will be until July – so I was unable to take orders at the show as every piece that I make is different.”

Hilary also receives a year’s free membership of The GA and will reap the benefit of trade press and online coverage.

Highly commended for her colourful knitted home accessories was textile designer Deryn Relph, who works from her studio in Hampshire.