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Introducing Nam Tran

by Mathilde Lester, UCL Museum Studies MA Student and Project Manager for the Jewish Museum London’s Claytime Late

In the
very heart of Camden, not far from the Jewish Museum London, is Rochester
Square. It is an abandoned nursery; inside, crumbled, neglected green houses
sprawl to the left, and beside those, a long, airy studio, lined with ceramic
pots. This is where Nam Tran works.

Tran is
a ceramics artist. From 12 November to 3 December he was Potter-in-Residence at the Jewish Museum London
and tomorrow will be returning for Claytime, a student run Late event
inspired by Shaping Ceramics: From Lucie
Rie to Edmund de Waal

image

Nam Tran at work in the Jewish Museum London’s studio space during Shaping Ceramics

He
first took up ceramics while studying for his plumbing apprenticeship at the
age of 16. Those years (his foundation art course) he spent in an unused studio
in the outskirts of London, the entire space to himself.

In 2008
he began an undergraduate degree at St Martins, and in 2012 a masters at the
Royal College of the Arts. He never completed his MA – it was too much, and he
wasn’t ready. He left the course and picked up night shifts, leaving the wheel
behind.

But 3
years ago he received a letter. His professor at St Martins had died and had
left his entire studio to Nam, contents and all. From that day, Nam has been a
practising, full-time artist.

He
describes clay with meaningful, personal words. To him, it is a
responsibility: clay, once fired,
becomes ceramics, and that move is irreversible. 

“You can crack it, break it,
or crush it, but it is still ceramics” he says. To touch, mould and press clay
therefore, is a process of recording. He notes the influence mood can have on
surface: “It’s how you want to interpret yourself in the clay form”.

He and
partner now run Cernamics, a commission based company, creating works for
institutions from the Tate to the National Trust. Today, he teaches, and soon,
he will be launching his new range. He is ready, he says.

Tran
will be offering one on one pottery classes at Claytime on Thursday 2 February from 6-9pm. To have a go, put your name on the sign up list at the door.

Book now for our Claytime Late 

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