Artist Statement

I create a mood and feeling of dynamic tension in my work by playfully manipulating the planes and facets of the patterns against each other. The stresses that this creates help me to achieve the maximum impact within the overall design and also to push the boundaries of the material to its limits. When creating a piece, the most exciting moment for me is when my flat designs become dramatically transformed when charted over a structure and then taken to another level by heavily carving into it. The hue of the material body is crucial because I rarely use colour, I also rely on the piece itself to dramatise the tones and textures through the effects of light and shadow.

In my early work, I was exploring the boundaries of my newfound modus operandi, which was infused with Islamic influences drawn from heavily carved architecture. This led me to look to other examples of intricately carved and constructed buildings from all around the world. In addition, I was inspired by the repetitive motifs of patterns derived from the influences of North African surface design.

Delving deeper into these architectural influences and looking closer at structures of past and contemporary building styles, I discovered that I was also greatly intrigued by the internal space and the construction, which were articulated together on the external surface envelope. These relationships have informed my work as I strive to unify not only internal and external forms but also the parts to the whole. In this respect, I am reminded of the Greek principle of the Golden Section, namely that, the smaller is to the larger as the larger is to the whole.

Subsequently, my work was influenced by a new emphasis on the balance between masculine and feminine forms and contours. There appeared to be a distinct pattern of behaviour of the viewers emerging solely based on gender. In general, women gravitated toward the spherical forms with curvilinear contours whereas the squarer form with hard-edge contours tended to elicit more interest from men.

More recently I have become interested in cutting more dramatically into the original form, sometimes to the point where the form begins to distort and becomes no longer recognisable as a geometric volume.


  • The most inspiring ceramic work I have seen in thirty years! Beautiful, mesmerising, powerful and thoughtful. Genius! Love, love, love this work.
    – Judith Ramsgate, 53 years old

  • Cassell’s Work Is Subliminal in its originality, having no parallel in the sculptural or crafts genres, whose borders it crosses.
    – Jean Vacher, Collections Manger, Crafts Study Centre, Farnham

  • It is not easy to put into words the effect that Halima Cassell’s remarkable ceramic sculptures have on you when you first encounter a well displayed section of her work
    – Zachary Kingdom

  • Cassell’s work encompasses and generates complexity and surprise. All of her sculptural work shares a language of geometry and volume but each is intriguingly different
    – Elli Herring

  • …Although Cassell is creating in different media – and respecting the unique characteristics of her material while doing so – she is also intent on discerning just how bronze, glass, marble and clay can ‘speak the same language
    – Ian Wilson

  • Beautiful – amazing to see someone work with such a variety of material to create such stunning, intricate pieces. I can imagine them out in the world, near water and nature. Beautiful, thank you.

  • She set very high standards for herself and was tireless in her efforts to reach them. After just three months she was able to carry out complex, compelling, delicate and dynamic work.
    – Helaine Blumenfeld OBE FRBS Dlitt

  • Her main preoccupation and sculptural impulse is to penetrate beneath the skin of the form to reveal the structure within – the crystalline seed of the stone, or the skeleton-like armature she perceives within the clay. She does not carve exteriors but reveals interiors – the folded abstract inner landscapes of her singular and highly imaginative vision.
    – Andrew Lambirth, Art Critic - Spectator Magazine

  • Halima’s work demonstrates incredible dedication and energy; one thing is clear, she will be among the future pathfinders and leaders.
    – Alan Grieve, Chairman, The Jerwood Foundation

  • While working, Cassell becomes deeply involved in each piece to the point where she is unaware of her surroundings even watching her work on a piece for a few minutes, it is obvious that the process commands all her attention
    – Emmanuel Cooper