UCA graduate Jess Skelton was chosen from 165 applicants to win the New Ashgate Gallery Rising Stars Award, an annual prize for fresh craft talent.

Jess makes semi-abstract sculptures from porcelain, stoneware and earthenware clays. Glaze is often structural as well as surface decoration and she may incorporate found objects, usually related to the sea.

Her work emerges, rather than being planned, through wheel throwing, disruption and risk taking. It always begins with the vessel, as both a nod to the ancient tradition of ceramics and a reference to her own maritime heritage.

Jess is attracted to what lies beneath the shiny veneers found within society, preferring the honesty of the shadow places and derelict spaces.

She is particularly drawn to old boatyards - which she finds beautiful, and where she has witnessed both the precarious existence and innovative natures of those who live beyond the bounds of convention.

Jess’s pieces survive being pushed to their limits in the making processes - melting, collapsing and fusing in the kiln to form a final identity of her making but ultimately beyond her control.

The free New Ashgate Gallery Rising Stars Exhibition is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10.30am to 5pm, until April 27.