Dr Natasha Mayo FHEA FRSA

Screen-shot-2011-06-23-at-14.59.41-150x100.png Senior Lecturer Ceramics

e: nmayo@cardiffmet.ac.uk
w: www.natashamayoceramics.com

Specialist Subject Areas

Ceramics: Studio and Theory: The Sociality of Skills / Sculpture / Professional Practice
Creative Strategies: Drawing Strategies / Drawing as a Social Tool / ‘Drawma’ / Multimodal or Ensemble Practice
Oral Histories: In Conversation ‘life narratives’ / Film as a Pedagogic Tool

Module Delivery:

L4 (1st yr)   
Ceramics: Thinking Through drawing
Constellation: Civic Ceramics (Ecologies of Practice)
L5 (2nd yr)  
Ceramics: Drawing as Research

Constellation: A Play on Extraordinary Processes: the social life of material, process & skillsField: Drawing Experience (collab with Illustration and CSESP: Story Tellingand Creative Writing)

L6 (3rd yr)  
Ceramics: Pathway Leader
Constellation: Diss Prep (research skills)
L7 (Masters) 
Ceramics and Maker: Pathway Leader
Context and Methodologies (Module lead across the Masters Federal Scheme)
Creative Exchange (collab with Creative Writing MA): material & prose


PhD: An Investigation into the Potential of Ceramics to Expressively Render Flesh and Skin on the Human Form
MA: Ceramics
PGCE: Secondary and sixth Form
BA: Fine Art Painting


Natasha Mayo is a researcher, writer, practitioner, and since 2004, senior lecturer in ceramics at Cardiff School of Art and Design. She is a fellow of HEA, member of the Royal Anthropology Institute, the Folklore Society, trained in Oral History techniques, and a Haumea eco-literacy associate. She has achieved national and international acclaim for her ceramic practice and written over 30 articles for journals such as: Ceramics Art and Perception, Kerameiki Techni, Ceramic Review, Interpreting Ceramics, CCQ, Artist newsletter (AN) and the Royal Anthropology Journal.


Natasha received an AHRC award (2000) for research into the human form in clay, completing her practice-led doctorate in 2003. A contributing part of this was co-founding the Zelli Porcelain Prize and becoming joint winner alongside Kate Mcbride in 2002. Her PhD practice toured as part of 'Ceramic Contemporaries 4' (2003) 'The Human Figure' (2004) 'Bodywork' (2005). In 2004 with Arts Council funding she worked as part of a team (J. Jones, B. Martini, M. Hose) to devise the Fragmented Figure exhibition and adjoining conference. She went on to develop the Fragmented Figure website (2006) comprising articles and recorded interviews with each of the artist involved. She was guest editor for 'Ceramics and Society' dedicated to the ceramic figure and held subsequent position as review's editor for the Interpreting Ceramics peer review journal.

Making the Creative Process Visible

In 2008 Natasha gained her first HEA grant for pedagogic research 'Making the Creative Process Visible' identifying key stages in idea development in ceramics. This was followed by second HEA grant for 'Eight Propositions and More…' core approaches to using drawing as a thinking tool. Both projects used a student-led collaborative model working with over 70 ceramics graduates. This led to an 'Innovations in Teaching' award from HEA and the JORUM prize for use of film as a pedagogical tool. In 2010 a third HEA grant enabled her to test the strategies in relation to international artists practice as part of the 'Porcelain Another Way' residency in Poland. This reprised her interest in interview techniques in particular devising a method of 'in conversation' to explore it ability to unearth new territory. A further series of filmed discussions followed with artist Claire Curneen exploring her practice from multiple perspectives on site of her first solo exhibition in Wales 'Passage', and discussion and subsequent round table with Lowri Davies and Dawn Youll exploring the ethnographic connections of artists involved in their exhibition 'Placement: Ceramics Connections', an account of this project is published by Fife Contemporary Art & Craft (2011).

All four projects contributed to online teaching resources receiving international acclaim at the Designs on E Learning Conference Savannah School of Art & Design USA, STLHE Conference Savanna College of Art, Canada, International Perspectives in Pedagogy, Leeds University, UK, NAITRL CELT 4th Annual Conference Galway University, Ire. Supported by Gwella funding she went on to co-design an interactive website with Glory Hall and Ingrid Murphy to house these and other video-based resources. A subsequent Wales Arts International award abled her to co-present the work together with Murphy at NCECA, USA, and to exhibit practice as part of the event's exhibition route (2011). The resources were exhibited as part of the second British ceramics biennial (BCB) and are now used to structure the delivery of the Contemporary Craft Masters Course, Hereford College of Art.

An interest in the role of film as a pedagogic tool continued in a National Museum Wales funded project to devise 'Frameworks for Interpreting Ceramic Objects' igniting fascination in bringing together interdisciplinary approaches in the study of a theme. FICO involved bringing together: musicians, dancers, relational artists, art historians and curators as part of their 'Fragile?' exhibition to respond to exhibited artefacts, to date this is largest exhibition of ceramics in Wales (2016).


In 2012 Natasha's practice, particularly the role of drawing continued to develop with work showcased in Kyra Canes 'Making and Drawing' Pub A&C Black and informing new work 'A History of Marks' exhibited in the international touring project 'Mother Suckers: Corpse Fertile Bodies' (2013). The same year with her first strategic Insight fund (SIPs) she worked with a trained councillor and drama specialist from Valley and Vale Community Arts to explore the potential of 'Drawma'; an embodied drama-drawing technique to assist children as they negotiated their experience of a recent fire at their school. This relational interest in drawing led to the international project 'Drawing Parental Conversations', a year-long project, again using an artist-led collaborative model engaging over 28 families in over 8 countries, exploring how drawing can be used to navigate family relationships. An account of this in the paper 'Bentos Sketchbook' was published by TANT (2016). In 2015 with a fourth HEA grant, she devised a symposium 'Drawing In-Between: Interdisciplinary Learning Through Drawing' in which to present her research, presenting again at the Berger Conference (2016) Cardiffmet, an HEA led conference in Sunderland (Centre of Ceramic and Glass) and leading to a two-day workshop in collaboration with the illustrator Chris Glynn at the Victoria & Albert Museum (2016).

Relational Practice

A second SIP's grant was gained to collaborate with Artworks Cymru to identify 'New Paradigms in Participatory Art' together with Dr. Melania Warwick. This time the focusm returned to the field of ceramics and the result 'Civic Ceramics' written for the Ceramics Reader, Pub. Bloomsbury (2017). This shift was timely, the refugee crisis in 2016 pulled all areas of concern together: creative thinking, clay, and ethnographic study leading to 'Beyond Borders' an interdisciplinary response, with dancers, poets, story tellers, musicians, sculptors, ceramists, illustrators, NMW geologists each exploring ways to align the movement of the earth with the movement of man. Welcoming 70 refugee: Bangladeshi, Iranian, Syrian, Kurdish, Somali, together with Polish, Italian immigrants, and huge support from local families. This subsequently informed her public event Flux: art, Society and Responsibility at Cardiff MADE in 2016.

In 2016 Natasha became programme director of ceramics at CSAD shifting focus fromexternal projects to those within the studio resulting in projects harnessing the social capacity of skills namely, 'Vicarious Wednesdays: skill share events', an approach showcased at CoCA's Restating Clay conference 2018 and CAID: 'Can ceramics make a difference' symposium, Stoke as part of BCB. This approach was extended by the Craft Council Hey Clay initiatives including: 'Cob Stomping' staged at the Greenman Festival of Music and Art (2017), exploring how the cob mixing process serves as an ethnographic record of time and place involving storytelling, dance and song, 'A Play on Extraordinary Processes' (2018) mapping historic and contemporary account of materials, skills and tools, and collaboration with poets and story tellers in 'the Poetry of Clay'. More collaborative initiatives followed with the Masters 'Creative Exchange' collaboration across all art subjects and the Creative Writing MA (CSESP), and 'Global Studio': simultaneous collaborative events with institutions from Iceland, Turley, Korea, Ireland and Namibia, devised to uncover the cultural wealth of shared skills in ceramics. She stepped down from this role in 2019 these approaches are still in place.

Current Project:

An ensemble artist she enjoys the entanglement of making / writing / teaching /oral histories / social practice, considering them all 'events' for playing with different modalities of self-representation in the world.

The Flight Lines project is supported by the National Museum Wales and Get Started research fund Cardiff Met, co-devised with artist CJ O'Niell and supported by sound artist Heledd Evans. It arose from an interest in the painter Gwen Johns personal letters, and ways in which they could be used to map connections between her art practice and life. Flightlines uses non-hierarchical approaches such as oral histories, to gather conversations that reveal the extraordinary practices that can arise from the relationship between ceramic practice and life 'as it is lived'. It seeks to reveal the innovation of these extraordinary 'ensemble' practices, but perhaps more significantly, to learn from their demonstration of 'hospitality' and open-endedness, an essential mindset for us to cultivate if we are to respond to our current eco crisis.

An initial account of such practices can be found in Mayo, N., 2022 'The Irreducible Forces of Home: Ensemble Art Practices of Parent/Artists during COVID, Journal of Anthropology. The project will be launched at NCECA 2023 Cincinnati with the paper 'Things Left Out of the Story' pending.

Her own ceramics practice remains a pivotal part of this. Through ceramics and print she explores the surface of the body as milieu to carry the indexical and intentional mark making of her family – setting the diary entries of her mother in law when she was 15 against the drawings of her 10 year old daughter – her dad's requests for copies of his PhD thesis and the school reports of her son – her practice arises from a fascination in what connects and makes us who we are and all of this of course, is experienced through and enacted by the body. 

Current and recent research

‘Sensorial Anthropology’ extends the idea of ‘home’ as a site of creativity and family as a research methodology (see Parental Conversations). Commencing with collaboration with Photographer Toril Brancher and Musician Bethan Frieze, it maps the sensorial landscape of ‘Home’ exploring relationships between sensorial perception and creativity.

Principal publications,exhibitions and awards

Collaborative Projects

(2021 - )  Fightlines: Podcast Series with CJ O'Niell

(2018)  Ceramics Communities: Exploring the Sociability of Clay. Devising a conference in collaboration with the Centre of Ceramic Art as part of the Restating Clay Symposia.

(2016)  Beyond Borders: An Interdisciplinary Response to the Refugee Crisis, aligning the movement of the earth with the movement of humankind. A collaboration with Eric Ngalle Charles, Bevin Magama, Claire Prosser, Imogen Higgins, Bethan Frieze, Chris Glynn, Heather Jackson and the Refugee Council Wales.

(2015-16)  New Frameworks for Interpreting Ceramic Objects A collaboration with: National Museum Wales: Bethan Frieze, Heloise Godfrey, Claire Prosser, A J Stockwell

(2014 – 15)  Expanding the Position of Ceramics within Participatory Art identifying new wave 'emergent community cultures' mapping points of access for ceramics students at HE level. A collaboration with: Melania Warwick and Artwork Cymru

(2014-15)  The Sensorial Object a curatorial project exploring sense experience through crafted objects. A collaboration with: Zoe Preece, Joanna Grace, Bethan Fireze, for Craft in the Bay, Makers Guild Wales, UK            

(2015)  Museum as a site of creativity: workshops designed to enrich exploration of the museum: integrating oral storytelling, illustrators and creating objects from clay sourced from the site and firing work in a kiln constructed according to medieval design. A collaboration with Dylan Adams, Chris Glynn and Duncan Ayscough, for St Fagans: Museum of Welsh Life, National Museum Wales.

(2014 -2016)  Parental Conversations Global drawing project from Wales to Puerto Rico using drawing to create dynamic time and space for families to explore the world. A collaboration with 8 countries and over 28 families

(2014 -)  Drawing Partnerships brokering and supporting collaborative drawing projects across disciplines and bringing people together from different walks of life. A collaboration with: Chris Glynn

(2014)  Sensory Anthropology: HOME exploring how children construct a sensorial identity 'home' through the activity of play. A collaboration with Toril Brancher.

(2014)  Drawing Partnerships and Bento's Sketchbook a participatory event at the 'Thinking with John Berger' conference. A collaboration with Chris Glynn and the School of Education, Cardiff Metropolitan University

(2013) Social Potentials of Drawing Five-day Drawing workshops visualizing creative thinking taking place. A collaboration with Valley and Vale Community Arts at Betws Primary School, Bridgend

(2013)  Drawing Conversations A collaboration with Chris Glynn, at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, as part of HEA 'Teaching and Practice' seminar.

(2013)  Drawing In-Between: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Drawing: Chaired and Presented work at Seminar and Associated Exhibition. A collaboration with Chris Glynn and Andre Stitt at Cardiff Metropolitan University

(2012)  Placement: Ceramics Connections Chaired Symposium. A collaboration between Oriel Davies Gallery and Fife Contemporary Art & Craft

Publications featuring work:

(2015)  Drawing Partnerships and Bento's Sketchbook by N. Mayo and C. Glynn TANT publishing

(2012)  Drawing and Making, by Kyra Cane, A&C Black

(2012) Drawing into Practice, Journal of Visual Art Practice, Volume 11 Issue 1

(2010)  The Role of Film in Making the Creative Process Visible in 'e- Learning in Art' Savanna College of Art, USA 

Conference Papers/Presentations

(2022)  Multimodal Practices, The Craft Council '50 years: Make First Symposium'

(2018)  The Discursive Capacity of Skills, Restating Clay Conference, Centre of Ceramic Art, York

(2018)  The Sociability of Clay, CAID Can Ceramics Make a Difference Conference, Stoke on Trent, UK

(2015)  Sensorial Object co-presented with Zoe Preece on behalf of the SSN York Museum Trust and National Museum, Wales.

(2014)  Parental Conversations: Towards a New Domestic Culture presented as part of the 'Thinking with John Berger' Conference, Cardiff Metropolitan University

(2013)  Thinking Through Drawing at 'Drawing In-Between: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Drawing' Seminar and Associated Exhibition, Cardiff Metropolitan University

(2011)  Drawing as a Cognitive Tool at the 'WIRAD Drawing Symposium' Swansea University,

(2010)  Visual Studies: Drawing in Ceramics at the 'Drawing in Education Symposium' Kingston University, London

(2010)  Teaching Material Arts Through Post-‐Material Means Round Table Workshop 'STLHE 'Creative Teaching and Learning: Exploring, Shaping, Knowing' Toronto, Canada

(2010)  Video as a Research Tool 'Creative Teaching and Learning Conference', Sunderland University

(2010)  Making the Creative Process Visible, for 'Innovations in E-‐Learning in Art', Leeds University

(2010)  Virtual Learning in Art for 'E-‐Learning in Art', conference Savanna College Art, USA

(2010)  Innovations in Teaching 'Galway Symposium 'Creative Thinking Conference' Ireland

(2010)  Teaching Creativity 'Research Informed, Teaching Conference' Staffordshire University

(2010)  Ceramics and Virtual Learning NCECA, Florida, USA

(2004)  Practice and Reflection II Frome Arts Centre, UK

(2003)  The Gendered Figure, to accompany the exhibition 'The Female Form. Craft in the Bay, Cardiff

(2003)  Expression of Flesh and Skin, Theory in Education, Aberystwyth International Ceramics Festival

(2002)  Craft in the 21st Century: Theorizing Change in Practice, University of Edinburgh, Art College

(2001)  Theorizing Practice: A Research Culture for Ceramics, University of Westminster, Harrow

Journal Articles Authored

(2022)  The Irreducible Forces of Home: Ensemble Art Practices of Parent/Artists during COVID, Royal Journal of Anthropology

(2020)  The Storyteller: The Woven Narratives of Natalia Dias Ceramics Ceramics Art and Perception

(2019)  Pacing the Perimeter Ceramics Art and Perception                                                                  

(2018)  Material Presence CCQ

(2017)  Civic Ceramics Ceramic Reader, Bloomsbury

(2015)  The Sensorial Object: A Students, Wales Arts Review

(2015)   Sensorial Anthropology', Sensorial Object catalogue essay for 'Craft in the Bay, Cardiff

(2011)  Placement catalogue essay exhibition, Oriel Davis and Fife Contemporary Arts

(2010)  Porcelain Another Way essay to accompany Porcelain Another Way symposium, Poland

(2010)  Making the Creative Process Visible Paper published by Savanna College of Art, USA

(2009)  Maybe its Maybelline Article: Claire Loder, Ceramic Review International Journal

(2009)  Dreams and Visions Article: Linda kieft, Ceramic Review

(2008)  Pamela Lueng Review, Ceramic Review,

(2007)  Michael Flynn Review, Ceramic Review

(2006)  Catrin Howells: Mythologies Review, Ceramic Review

(2005)  Claire Curneen: Succur Review, Artist Newsletter

(2004)  The Human Condition Guest Editor & Contributor of Ceramics in Society Journal

(2004)  Philip Eglin's Multilayered Iconography Article, Ceramics in Society

(2004)  A vantage Point between Past and Present, Richard Slee's Ceramics Article, Ceramics in Society

(2004)  The Expression of Flesh and Skin, Natasha Mayo's Ceramics Article, Ceramics in Society

(2003) The, Role, of Narrative in Claire Curneen's Ceramics Article, Kerameiki Techni, International Ceramic Art Review


(2021)  Get Started Fund Flight lines Project

(2015)  Strategic Insight Project (SIPS) funding to collaborate with Artworks Cymru to find ways in which to integrate participatory arts into Higher Education

(2015)  Staff Development funding to learn the process and presentation of Sensory Stories with Joanna Grace: Sensory Stories

(2013)  HEA Fellowship status for 'Making the Creative Process Visible' pedagogical study.

(2013)  Strategic Insight Project (SIPS) funding to collaborate with Valley and Vale Community Arts exploring 'Social Potentials of Drawing'

(2011)  Impact Exploitation Fund, Cardiff Metropolitan University, to promote National Centre for Ceramics VLE in Seattle USA as part of the NCECA Exhibition Circuit

(2011)  Wales Arts International funding to secure a collaborative exhibition in Seattle, USA as part of NCECA Exhibition Circuit

(2010)  Gwella award to devise Virtual Learning Environment for National Centre for Ceramics Wales, to house the 'Making the Creative Process Visible' films, 'Visual Studies: Drawing Resource, Bridging the Divide: Conversations Between Practice and Theory and other teaching resources.

(2010)  Strategic Insight Project (SIPS) funding to attend, write the catalogue and record further evidence of Making the Creative Process Visible' at the symposium 'Porcelain Another Way' Poland

(2009)  HEA Innovations in Teaching Award for 'Making the Creative Process Visible' films

(2005)  Arts Council Grant to support 'Fragmented Figure' Conference and Adjoining Exhibition Part of Cardiff Ceramics Research Group

(2002)  Zelli Porcelain Prize, Marlebone, London

(2000)  AHRC Creative Arts grant for Doctoral Qualification

(1999)  AHRC Creative Arts grant for Masters Qualification

Selected Exhibitions

(2016)  Beyond Borders: An Interdisciplinary Response to the Refugee Crisis

(2014)  Fireworks Now: touring exhibition Inc. Craft in the Bay and Aberystwyth Art center

(2013)  Cardiff Open, Cardiff Collective, High Street Arcade

(2012)  Beyond Borders, ArtXchange Gallery, Seattle, USA

(2009)  MA Ceramics 25 Years Cardiff School of Art and Design, Cardiff Metropolitan University 

(2006)  Ceramic Futures Exhibition, Drawinternational Gallery, Caylus and Garonne, France

(2006)  Bodyworks, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Wales

(2005)  Fragmented Figure Exhibition, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Wales

(2005)  Purchase Prize Glamorgan University, Wales

(2003)  Ceramic Contemporaries 4, Royal College of Art, London (Touring Exhibition)

(2002)  Zelli Porcelain Prize, Marylebone, London