Jenny Southam lives and works in Exeter.. She works in the medium of terracotta specializing in individual hand-built figurative sculptures. She is continually evolving new ideas, most of which reference her fascination with Etruscan tomb sculptures and Staffordshire mantelpiece figures. The sculptures explore mythic and domestic themes and many are inspired by working in the garden and on her allotment
The works are celebratory, though in a quiet and contemplative way, the oxides and the slips decorating the sculptures used in an intuitive manner to echo the works emotional rhythm. She returns to rework her subjects over and over again, although each piece has its own striking individual character. The exploration of scale is an important part of Jenny’s practice; some sculptures are only a few inches high whilst others are imposing figures two feet tall.
As Simon Olding noted in Ceramic Review, her work is disarmingly honest. She sees herself as a maker using her studios in Exeter as the ‘equivalent of a woman in a shed’. Indeed, the abundance of garden imagery in her work suggests that the shed is a place of prolific endeavour rather than idle repose. The theme of the garden as a place of tended, organic growth, of careful nurturing, is an essential underpinning to her creativity.
She gained a Fine art degree and a Post-Graduate Diploma at Bristol Polytechnic (now University of the West of England), specializing in work in bronze. During this time she also worked as an artist and bronze-caster’s assistant to a number of artists around Gloucestershire. She is a qualified teacher and has worked on a variety of community arts projects in Devon.
Jenny is a member of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen and also of the Craft Potters Association.