Spotlight on artist Katie Braida who is based at Scarborough's Old Parcel Office Artspace

Kate Braida is one of the artists who has a studio at the Old Parcels Office Art Space at Scarborough Railway StationKate Braida is one of the artists who has a studio at the Old Parcels Office Art Space at Scarborough Railway Station
Kate Braida is one of the artists who has a studio at the Old Parcels Office Art Space at Scarborough Railway Station
Katie Braida is the first artist to be featured in our spotlight on the Old Parcels Office Artspace at Scarborough Railway Station.

Katie moved to Scarborough 18 years ago and started making her artwork using clay, alongside teaching in secondary schools and bringing up her children.

She hand builds the pieces using a combination of traditional techniques including coils, long ropes of clay that are layered one on top of the other then smoothed together.

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The soft clay is used to build an initial shape and then these forms are refined using a range of clay tools. Different quality marks to help to create interesting surfaces that reveal more the closer you look.

Katie is drawn to making sculptural vessels and forms, which have a depth of colour and retain a softness and tactile quality that invites interaction.

What excites her most is working with the clay which leads to the exploration of the surface. Exploring the local environment provides inspiration for texture and patterns, such as the thorns in the hedgerows or the grasses at the side of the road.

Katie started learning about pottery at an after school club at the age of 10 and has been hooked ever since. After studying ceramics as part of her degree in Cheltenham she went on to qualify as a secondary school art teacher specialising in ceramics.

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Ten years ago Katie started swimming regularly in the sea in Scarborough’s South Bay, and this has proved to be a significant source of inspiration.

“Sometimes the water can be dark, the surface reflective like oil, making you question what lies below."

This is implied in the dark interiors of the forms, suggestions of the unknown are glimpsed in the shadows.

However, it is important to Katie that the work remains open to interpretation. The textures remain abstract enough for the viewer to bring their own experience to the work and by interacting with the forms you get to know the subtleties of each individual piece.

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“Touch is such an important part of the making process,” Katie says. “It also feels like an essential part of experiencing the work.”

Katie’s work is sold in galleries and at ceramics fairs nationwide and she was recently accepted as a Selected Member of the Craft Potters Association, a group that promotes awareness of contemporary studio ceramics.

Although no longer teaching in school, Katie has continued to teach hand building pottery classes and workshops at Ebberston Studios and has worked with a variety of local and national organisations to provide opportunities to learn about clay.

For more information check out Katie’s website or look for @katiebraidaceramics on Instagram.The Old Parcels Office Artspace has also launched a call-out for its open exhibition.

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Sally Gorham, chair of the Old Parcels Office, said “The great thing about open eExhibitions is that anyone can enter work; you don’t have to be professional artist and as we saw last year that can throw up some really interesting surprises. The final decision about which works get selected for the exhibition will be down to a panel of independent judges chaired by one of the Old Parcels Office trustees.”

Artists have until Sunday January.1 to submit work. The Old Parcels Office open exhibition is on from February 11 to March 12. For more information on how to submit entries go to the website: