The Wonderful World of Amy Worrall

Meet the ceramicist whose work evokes beach scenes that are simultaneously happy, strange, fun, disturbing, playful, dark, distorted—and most entertaining.

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They might not seem like obvious inspirations, but topless women in Florida and sunburned Brits abroad are just that for ceramicist Amy Worrall.

"My go-to line is that 'I work on the fringes of kitsch,'" sums up the 26-year-old designer, who studied graphic design and illustration at Central Saint Martins and launched herself as a full-fledged ceramicist brand in 2013. (You can find her wares at Handjob Gallery, in Brooklyn, and Tictail Market, in the East Village in New York).

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"It's bright, cheery, and colorful on the surface, but when looked at closer, the joke becomes clear; it's provocative," she says of her work. Her ceramics started out as a hobby—she always loved making things out of clay. It was only after art school, during a ceramics evening course, that she discovered that it was, in fact, her main focus creatively.

"[My work] has tension: kids always love it, which makes me so happy, then the parents look in horror! I want people to think 'This is nice, oh wait, what is it?' It's very crass up front; I've never been one for subtlety," she says. And so, her SPRINGBREAK and GIRLSGONEWILD collections comprise ornaments, plates, sculptures, coasters, and bowls adorned with semi-burned, semi-nude bodies having fun in the sun and by the pool. They look simple and happy, but then...not: a vase is covered in protruding breasts, sunburned bodies appear to struggle for space on the outside of a planter, and bud vases are in the form of reclining, curvaceous, headless bodies.

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"I've always been fascinated by how water affects our behavior," says Worrall of her primary inspiration. "From the birth of the 'seaside' in Victorian times and the idea of the edge of land being a 'wild' place where anything goes—a concept that is still thriving in the 21st century—I naturally gravitated to my perception of this. It's the perfect combination of forced fun and freedom."

And she's always had a bit of a fascination with the female form, too. "The first ceramic thing I made was a heart made of boobs, as you do! Up until quite recently I was still making a version of it," she recalls. This is also one of the reasons Worrall is moving from London to Sweden, where she'll begin her master's at Konstfack. "The Swedes love an excuse to strip off, so I'm hoping to find a new set of muses!" We wish you the best of luck, Amy!

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