Oh Hi, Jasmine Simpson

Sean Dissington || July 24th

I meet Jasmine Simpson in Tsp on Piccadilly, she is looking particularly pleased with the mug of tea and Portuguese tart that she's snacking on as we start to talk Staffordshire, the 80s, London and many things in between.

Jasmine, one of the many artists operating from Middleport, has an energy about her that’s authentic and betrays her passions for her art. As we discuss her varied artistic output the subject gets back to education. Like many young artists and ceramicists locally she is a Staffordshire University graduate, yet as opposed to many she didn’t graduate in fine art; Jasmine studied 3D material design – and I think this is apparent in much of her creative output. Much of her work has a look about it of something made to be used rather than simply appreciated for what it is. I’m not going to ruminate over the value of something purely from an artistic form compared with something that has an intended function – that’s for critics (and ultimately Jasmine’s customers to do).

The truth is though with much of her creative output, Jasmine captures the familiar in a way that's comforting, her Staffordshire Dogs are at first glance Staffordshire Dogs – it's an artistic style that's challenging to reinvent after all, but the fact that she's making them now in 2017 is what matters. Kitsch? perhaps, marvellous? Definitely.

A passion of Jasmine's is nature, and it shines through much of her portfolio, her Bovine series is charming and honest (i'm not sure a ceramic cow can be anything but) and her flying swans echo the flying ducks of the 1970s in a new way that is again comfortingly familiar. Her flatware seems to come alive with the designs that she has chosen, the 2D canvas allowing for broad strokes with an energy you can almost see.

As we lament the passing of the Portuguese tarts I ask Jasmine about London, surely it's where all new creatives go to ply their trade and make connections? Jasmine shrugs and tells me that she's working part time for renowned ceramicist Reiko Kaneko at the moment and sees Stoke as as good a base to sell to a global marketplace as anywhere else – after all Reiko moved her studio up here to be near to ceramic technical expertise, so why leave that?

It's not a point I can argue, and if this is the start of a generation of artists and makers seeing Stoke as a city from which they can launch their careers then we can all benefit. In the meantime, check out Jasmine's work at www.jasminesimpson.com