Diana Tonnison

‘My ceramics are paintings which just happen to be three-dimensional sculptural wall pieces.  My work is mainly hand built. I love to move between the different disciplines of mixed media painting on canvas and my ceramic surfaces.  I add the layers using slips and glazes, mixing different clays from porcelain to crank, and often re-firing the work several times until the desired effect is required’.

Following a highly successful career in the fashion industry including working for Missoni and the Scottish fashion designer, Bill Gibb, Diana spent the 80s and 90s commissioning bespoke work for interior designers going onto create and run a fashion and textile national diploma course. In 2003 she left full-time employment to pursue a career as an artist and ceramicist. She has travelled widely in India, Morocco, South Africa, Mozambique, and Mallorca, where she and her husband own a house. Her work is strongly influenced by her background in textiles, as colour, texture, and pattern are all key to her work. She is particularly influenced by local crafts, markets, and traditional textiles discovered on her travels.


Diana explores the beauty and simplicity of the fish and produce markets with brilliantly coloured fish and vegetables. Her astonishing mastery of glazes enables her to make paintings in a ceramic medium. This most recent collection ‘The Pantry’, was inspired by the recent trend for pantries in kitchen design. These collections of ripe fruit and vegetables, foraged fungi, and fresh fish, are displayed in handmade storage shelf boxes, emulating the storage compartments and shelves found in a pantry. These colourful boxes call to the revitalised importance placed on good quality produce, nourishment, and simplicity that was brought back into focus by the slowness of last years lockdowns. Each piece of fruit, vegetable, fish, or fungi is individually made by Diana, permanently fixed into place within the handmade and distressed wood-box-frame, perfectly deigned for wall display.


Her work has been on sale in Liberty’s, Knox Design in Mallorca – who combine original art with colourful Mediterranean interiors- the Ashmolean Museum reflecting food seen in the current ‘Last Supper in Pompeii' exhibition, and various other galleries in England and Scotland. Her work hangs in customers’ houses round the world from the Bahamas & USA across to Europe, the Middle East and Australia. Recent Exhibitions include ‘Scotlandart,’ Glasgow 2019, Woburn Mosaic Gallery, Woburn, Beds, 2019. ‘Handmade in Britain,’ Oxford 2018. She has been published in Craft & Design Magazine, Ceramic Review, and has won numerous prizes. Her work is in the Oxfordshire Museum’s permanent Contemporary Craft Collection.
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