One Year On – Catching up with Corrie Bain – RHS Virtual Chelsea 2020
It’s day three of this year’s RHS Virtual Chelsea Flower Show and we’re looking back at the artisans who were housed in our garden buildings in Ranelagh gardens this time last year.
With the greatest flower show in the world going online for the first time in its 107-year history due to the COVID crisis we couldn’t help but feel a little nostalgic.
What better way to relive the show’s highlights but through the experiences of some of the artisans from the cohort of 2019? We also couldn’t resist finding out what doors have been opened for them since exhibiting and where they see themselves in the future.
“It was so much more than I expected” confesses ceramicist Corrie Bain. Corrie was surprised by who came to Chelsea Flower Show last year. “There were people from all walks of life and every part of the world.”
Before Chelsea, Corrie had been more used to showing her exquisite ceramic sculptures at specialist ceramics shows. “My work is quite conceptual, so it was refreshing to be asked why I make my sculptures rather than how”.
On Press Day, the Duchess of Cambridge visited Corrie’s Artisan Retreat and remarked on how beautiful the pieces were.
“Another exciting development from the show was that art dealer and collector Adrian Sasson is now aware of my work.”
Since the show, Corrie has also been invited to take part in a show in the Netherlands alongside some really high calibre ceramicists like Kate Malone of the Great British Throwdown. She was selected as one of 302 Artists to lead the Korean International Ceramics Biennial and been accepted into the International Academy of Ceramics.
“People I met at Chelsea are still emailing now with commissions. Christopher Hall (the internationally renowned interior and furniture designer) bought a piece direct. Galleries and museums have also shown a lot of interest.”
Corrie has thought about returning to Chelsea next year even though the most nerve-wracking part of the show was transporting her delicate handmade pieces by van from Barcelona. Thankfully the largest piece was put into storage in London in lieu of appearing in an exhibition organised by Haitch for Handmade, for the King of Abu Dhabi.
Corrie thinks being a Chelsea Artisan has really opened up new and exciting possibilities and accelerated her business. “I found it really encouraging. It’s definitely led to greater things and I’m choosier now about which events I exhibit at. It’s definitely made me more ambitious”.
The lockdown has given Corrie more time to produce work in her home studio, and although her ceramics school is temporarily closed at the moment, it will reopen again in June 2020. A year ago, she’d re-located to a new premise and the last 12 months before COVID hit were very successful, so she’s optimistic for the future. She intends to run her work in parallel to overseeing the students at the school. Looking to the future in 4- or 5-years’ time, Corries says she’d like to concentrate more on making her own work.
To find out more about Corrie, her process and her artwork, check out our interview with her from last year here.