Process and Methodology

When working in clay, I use heavily grogged clay that allows me to work on a large scale and utilise relatively thick surfaces to carve to my desired depth. I also concentrate on simple forms as the basis of my work in order to amplify the effect of the complex surface pattern combining with sharply contrasting contours.

Whilst creating my work, I go through different processes, each requiring a different mind set. I start by hand-building, and/or using a €˜former to create the basis of a shape for my structure. This follows on to the next phase, which involves exploring numerous possible design outcomes.

At this juncture, I shut out all external stimuli; this enables my mind to run free. I do not allow myself to think about the inherent technical problems that may occur at the construction stage, as this may affect my freedom to think during this part of the creative process. Then I work out the mathematics of the pattern and the surface area of the form, so that they work accurately and harmoniously together.

Finally, when the clay is at the right consistency, (in between leather-hard and stone-dry), I intuitively work out which way to carve each section of the design. Subsequently, this informs the remaining pattern on the overall form without having to work it out on paper.

Each piece varies between 100 and 280 hours or more, depending on the size and complexity of pattern. The work is slowly dried over several weeks/months, to ensure a steady drying process. The pieces are fired to variable temperatures depending on the clay body capability.

Over the last several years I have worked with a diversity of materials exploring their potential. When working with other materials such as stone, wood and plaster, the processes and methodology in creating these pieces are very similar as when I am working with clay, the only difference being is the tools used and the material behaviour and properties.

 


  • 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

  • …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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • She was sketching constantly and continually sought to transpose her drawings into sculptural forms. The surface as well as the shapes emerged together in sculpture which often combined enormous complexity with simplicity and unity.
    – Helaine Blumenfeld OBE FRBS Dlitt

  • 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.

  • The geometry and the mathematics involved in Halima’s work have the same effect on me as listening to Bach: she manages to get the same essential harmony of shape, form and detail. Her pieces are deeply fashioned, which is unusual in ceramics
    – Eric Knowles (Ceramics Expert)