Simeon Featherstone - Ceramic

Tell us about yourself…

I am a specialist technician in the ceramic department. I work predominantly in the plaster area, creating working models and moulds. I work here part time and on top of that, I have my own practice.

I work with various communities and different audiences to engage people in clay as much as possible. It has an educational stance, but includes a range of disciplines

I started working at CSM covering someone on maternity leave for 3 months: that was nine years ago! 

What's your background?

I studied BA Ceramics Design here, which is now the only BA ceramic course left in all of the UK. I then did a MA in Creative Practice for Narrative Environments, which is now called Narrative Environments, at CSM as well. My practice is a combination of the two: trying to design experiences for people and engage people for a particular reason or cause in various types of commercial or public sectors, but always doing this through the medium of clay, and very much site specific. 

What do you love most about your job? 

The students: they keep you young! And there are so many different ways of getting through a day: be it having a very intense hi-brow conversation, or a very low brow one; sometimes it’s to do with visual communication and sometimes it’s about how you communicate verbally. I can’t imagine too many jobs are like this.

What's your favorite thing about Central Saint Martins?

CSM makes you feel like it is at the centre of the universe. Students come from all over the world and from all walks of life. It’s a unique bubble.

Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

People. Be it in this building (King’s Cross) or outside.

An inspiration for me is someone like Jeremy Deller, who’s now a bit of a rock’n’roll star for what is essentially community & participatory art. It was quite a dirty word about 20 years ago, it’s nice to see someone spearheading my field of interest and doing it really well.

Who's your favorite artist/ photographer/ designer/ director…?

One of my heroes is Ralph Erskine, who was an architect and built social housing in the 70s and 80s. He literally embedded himself in a community as part of the consultation and design process.

What advice would you give to new students?

Ceramics can sometimes operate in its own world: it’s an amazing material that requires patience and craftsmanship. Three years of your life here fly by but this is the only the beginning of your career. Make the most of the time you have here, but see it as the beginning of a lifetime’s work.