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Ethulu Review

Ashley Tarr Ceramic artist, painter and jewellery maker

Ashley Tarr was born in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (current day Zimbabwe) in 1973 and spent her early years in Southern Africa before moving to the UK in 1995. She lives and works as a Graphic Designer in Essex. Her studio is based at her home which she shares with her very patient husband and 8 month old puppy.


Ashley draws inspiration from her past in Southern Africa as well as her love for ancient, ethnic and dramatic art. Colour and light play a crucial role in her creations, as do textures and natural materials. It is with these elements in mind that Ashley incorporates traditional techniques, such as the fiery Raku glazing process, with mixed media like metal, glass and wood to create both unusual and multi-faceted pieces that really own a space.


“I like my pieces to look as if they have been around for centuries,” Ashley says, “a lost relic that has finally seen the light of day. Raku was the ideal method to create such an impression but also the very process, involving flames and heat, seems to mimic the idea of bringing something out of the earth into light.”


The same love of texture and colour can be seen in her jewellery which has an organic natural edge to it. Coloured wire and beads entwine to produce non-uniform pieces that lie around the neck like a vine of berries. This wire craft filters through into both her ceramic work and paintings where she uses it to bring a third dimension to her art.

Ashley’s paintings, based on the Icon’s of old and inspired in the most part by Gustav Klimt, are reminiscent of early byzantine religious work but with modern themes. Again she uses mixed media to create an antique effect, layering metal gilding with resin and oil paints to create a luminous, translucent surface.


Though Ashley has exhibited informally at various shows and galleries, this year has been the first time she has set up a website and marketed her work. She is due to exhibit 30th June – 6th July at the Hepsibah Gallery in West London and will be at the Norfolk Festive Gift & Food Show in Norwich on the 19th November.

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© Ashley Tarr / Ethulu 2020