THREE designer makers in the contrasting disciplines of ceramics, kiln-formed glass and hand-woven rugs are working together for an exhibition at Pyramid Gallery, in Stonegate, York.

Exhibiting in Colour and Pattern Galore! from Friday until March 12 will be York hand-decorated ceramicist Ilona Sulikova, Altrincham fused glass designer Catherine Mahé and York weaver Jacqueline James.

Jacqueline has exhibited at Pyramid on two previous occasions and was approached by gallery owner Terry Brett to put together a show with work that would compliment the patterns central to her hand-dyed and woven rugs.

Ilona had given a talk to the York Artworkers Association about her approach to using repeating patterns on her large hand-coiled vessels, and with both Jacqueline and Terry being members of this networking group, Iona happily accepted their invitation to be part of the exhibition.

Jacqueline also identified Catherine as a skilled exponent of incorporating colour and pattern into her fused and slumped glass dishes and vessels, so the three designers met, visited the gallery and began planning their exhibition.

"It promises to be an intriguing and delightfully colourful display," says Terry. "I'm pleased to allow the three artists to curate this show together, and I acknowledge the skill required in making this show harmonious and at the same time interesting and exciting.

"The challenge is to allow each piece of work to look its best without clashing with other work in the same space. These three artists work with pattern and colour all the time and are the experts in making the display work in a pleasing way. I'm looking forward to seeing the result."

York Press:

Fired up: Ilona Sulikova

From her studio in York, Ilona Sulikova uses dry copper glaze to paint elaborate geometric patterns on her hand-built pots. The intention is to create dynamic sequences of rhythm and movement, and in order to achieve fusion between the pattern and the spherical form, all her work is raku fired. "This also means I have to surrender some control over the final result, which always retains an element of unpredictability," she says.

Ilona grew up in Czechoslovakia, attended various university courses and in 1980 joined a studio ceramics course in Harrogate, where everything fell into place.

"The course was practical and varied, and I enjoyed the combination of working with clay and building and firing kilns," she says. "We were encouraged to experiment, to be independent and to develop our own individual style. The joy of working with clay has never left me, despite all the ups and downs that followed."

She spent several years living and working in Somalia and Sudan. "Some of my work there involved the design of small, portable fuel-saving ceramic stoves, to be produced in refugee camps where wood supplies in the surrounding countryside were being rapidly depleted," Ilona recalls. "I worked with local potters, using local clays and experimenting with many different firing methods.

"In Southern Somalia, I trained with a group of female potters. It wasn’t easy; they put a number of obstacles in my way to test my commitment, but I kept going and, in the end, I did learn how to produce large water storage jars. The experience taught me the importance of perseverance, of precise craftsmanship, and of having confidence in my own work."

A few years after settling in York in the 1990s, she decided to modify the hand-building techniques she had learned in Africa to concentrate on producing large spherical pots. "Over the past 15 years, the shapes have evolved and nowadays the pots have become much smaller too," she says. "I enjoy the quiet process of hand-building, being in control of the pot as it gradually swells, and finally finishing it off."

Catherine Mahé has been working with kiln-fused glass for more than 15 years. "I love colour and pattern, a passion which started over 20 years ago on a trip to India and Guatemala and which has stayed with me ever since," she says.

York Press:

Fused glass by Catherine Mahé

"I started exploring glass and colour through mosaics 15 years ago and came across glass fusing about six years ago as I was experimenting with mixed media mosaics and had the idea of using glass inserts into my work.

"I bought a cheap, tiny and basic kiln with no temperature controller; it makes me chuckle now that I have a good understanding of how crucial temperature and speed of heating glass are in kiln-formed glass. I was hooked right from the moment I first opened the kiln door and found a shiny multi-coloured nugget."

Jacqueline James was born in Dumfries, Scotland, grew up in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and has lived in York since 1982. From 1985 to 1988, she studied woven textile design and construction at Harrogate College of Art and Technology, where she focused on rug weaving.

"In 1989 I established my weaving studio in York, where I design and make one-of-a-kind flat woven rugs and wall hangings for commission and exhibition. Everything is made by hand on my large and sturdy Swedish floor loom," she says.

Her work is in public and private collections in Britain and North America; her major commissions include weaving for York Minster, Westminster Abbey and the British Library, and she also runs textile-related workshops and arts residencies in schools, museums and galleries.

"I particularly enjoy designing and weaving bespoke work commissioned from private clients, interior designers, architects and places of worship," says Jacqueline.

Pyramid Gallery, York, is open everyday between 10am and 5pm and most Sundays from 12 noon to 4.30pm. Colour and Pattern Galore! will open with a 6pm to 8.30pm preview on Friday and can be viewed online at