Annabel Johnson

I am a ceramic artist and surface designer who's passion and inspiration lies in uncovering memories and creating a visually pleasing and somewhat humorous narrative.

I mostly draw inspiration from the past. Nowadays in a world where things are being constantly redeveloped and modernised, it is more important than ever to remember our heritage and background.

I make large slipcast cylinders which provide the perfect canvas to combine a mixture of graphic and ceramic qualities. Each vessel I make displays a selection of hand-drawn and computer generated illustrations enhanced with surface relief and glazes from my own recipes.

Why did you decide to study at Central Saint Martins?

My mum had always said if I had to go to art school, it'd have to be Central Saint Martins, because of its brilliant reputation. I went to Ravensbourne for my art foundation, so had already looked around at other Universities and knew what they had to offer. I just couldn't resist the fact that Central Saint Martins was so central and renowned!

What was the best bit about living and studying in London?

I actually commuted in from Southend, Essex everyday to study, but I often crashed at friends' houses, so I knew the advantages. There was just so much going on, whatever night of the week it was we decided to go out and have a few drinks, there was always somewhere with a good atmosphere. It was also great being in walking distance or tube ride away of a multitude of shops and markets!

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

Make the most of the first year! Obviously enjoy the social side as much as you can, that's a given - but use the facilities the uni has to offer and find out which methods of working and which materials and tool suits you best - experiment, as when it comes to your final year you don't want to run round sourcing suppliers etc.

And for students about to graduate?

Don't worry if your degree show isn't as successful as you would have liked and offers aren't falling at your feet - don't worry! People do remember you, and you may have an email six or nine months later. They say you have to hear someone's name 10 times before they begin to 'trust' you as a designer - DON'T GIVE UP!

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

At the moment I have my own studio space in my home town of Southend on Sea - I managed to get the studio by just keeping my eyes peeled, putting my name on waiting lists etc - I was quite lucky really, getting one so close to graduating. I'm working on new collections and also some smaller items such as jewellery and tableware, while still exhibiting my degree show work. I also secured an exclusive retail outlet - The Lesley Davy Gallery in Columbia Road, London

I have just finished a high profile commission for the Head of Sotheby's, who I met whilst exhibiting my degree show collection there, in Janice Blackburn's small show Huge Talent.

How has Central Saint Martins helped in your chosen career path?

The tutors are a fountain of knowledge seemingly know everyone worth knowing, and in my experience are always willing to share contacts and information. I have just finished a course, Immersion also run by Central Saint Martins and this has opened up new networks and provided the support I need to feel confident in starting up a business on my own.