for these ceramic figures came from an appreciation of the history
of art and costume, TV costume dramas, classic books by Jane Austen,
Dickens and the Bronte's, artists Gustave Klimpt, Alphonse Mucha
and Degas and the Art Nouveau movement. The Pied Piper of Hamelin
and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie were also influential, but most
important of all are a love of life drawing and observations of
children playing, especially with their mothers in playgroups.
As a child playing in my father's studio whilst he painted, I came
to adore the smell of oil paint and turps. I attended my father's
Saturday art class with my brothers whilst still very young and
accompanied him on field trips with his students. I aspired to become
an artist from the age of five. Following the closure of the provincial
art school where my father taught, the family moved to the North
East of England.
art foundation course at Newcastle College of Art. was followed
by a second year art foundation course at Sunderland College of
Art, later to become Sunderland Polytechnic. I then did a degree
course studying fine art and received an Upper Second Honours Degree.
Finally I attended Newcastle University and took a Post Graduate
Certificate of Education.
The early part of my career was spent teaching, where I honed my
techniques, which later helped me develop my business designing
and making ceramic figures. How I started making the figures was
as inspiration for the children I was teaching, and the very first
figure was made in the style of paper cone angels, one Christmas.
With the head of department, Barrie Rawlinson whom I subsequently
married, we soon established a reputation holding several successful
exhibitions of our work. In particular, interest in the elegant
stoneware ladies that I made was high and demand for the tall "faceless"
figures soon outstripped supply.
In 1981 we moved to a small village in Northumberland where I ran my own gallery and workshop for many years. My life changed direction again in 2000 and with my husband Pete moved to Alnwick; here with his encouragement and participation I developed a range of animals which became very popular, with demand often outstripping both the figures and my production.
After many successful years of increasing the variety of designs and production, I have been moving towards semi retirement and no longer supply the trade, with the odd exception, so it is rare to find any available in the market place.
These days most of my work is made to private commission and the range I have designed specially for Blue Poppy Designs cold cast bronzes.
You can find out more about Veronica at www.veronicaballan-ceramics.co.uk .