The Lightpiece story

The story starts when neighbours asked me to make some lightpieces for their new kitchen, with a completely open brief. I decided to cast the shades using bone-china slip so I made a mould and cast a set of shades for them. My clients were delighted and I thought that there could be potential to do more. 

As well as working out how to make a lampshade that would be practical, washable, durable and with the natural feel I was Iooking for, I had researched light fittings and cable, and started thinking about how I might take things further.

My eye was caught by a small advert in one of the ceramic magazines, calling for entries to a biennial ceramics competition in Geneva, Switzerland, with a theme of light. I'm very intuitive, and I had a strong immediate visualisation when I saw the ad.

It drove me to create a larger and more ambitious piece, the maximum size that could fit in my kiln . This lightpiece was very technically challenging, and I had some failures before I found the right way to make it work. I sent it to Geneva and waited to see what would happen.

I was very excited and happy to win a prize at the exhibition, it seemed like an amazing validation of my original intuition.

Since then I've developed a range of different shapes and continued to finesse the techniques I had to develop to make the first pieces. I fit the lightpieces in alongside my other studio ceramics work, but sometimes they're in competition. If I've got a deadline for an exhibition of my other work, then I might need to put the lightpieces aside for a while.

“Beautifully balanced
harmonious design, a poetic expression of text-book minimalism.”

Judge’s statement

Translucent Bone China Lampshade 

Weight 1.1 Kg  Height 230mm x Diameter 335mm

Sarah Jenkins said: "I am over the moon about winning this prize. It is fantastic to be recognised in an international competition."

Poetic minimalism


Sarah Jenkins wins Bruckner Foundation prize at Carouge biennial ceramics competition, Geneva, Switzerland - 19 September 2015

The prestigious Bruckner Foundation Prize for the Promotion of ceramics was awarded to Sarah Jenkins for her "Furrowed Dome" lamp. The jury commented on the harmony and delicacy of the proportions and described the entry as a "poetic demonstration of minimalism."

For the 15th International biennial Ceramic competition at Carouge, Geneva, there were around 500 entrants taking up the theme of ‘Ceramic lamp’. An international jury selected 58 objects from 22 countries to make up the exhibition La Lampe Ceramique at the Musee de Carouge.

The jury assessed the entries anonymously, using creativity, innovation, expression, humour and technical ability as judging criteria.

Sarah's winning piece - Furrowed dome pendant - the lampshade submitted for the competition - was a freshly created ceiling light/pendant lamp, on a larger scale than the pieces previously made, so challenging to produce.

Since winning the prize I have fulfilled several commissions to supply bespoke light-pieces, often as centrepiece items for domestic kitchens. 

I've also developed a range of different design shapes.

The robust nature of these shades means that they can be periodically taken down and cleaned with water and detergent.

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 © Sarah Jenkins 2020