Carol McNicoll (In association with Marsden Woo)
Britain b. 1943
McNicoll was born in Birmingham in 1943 and brought up in Solihull West Midlands. She attended a foundation course at Solihull College of Technology and then studied fine art at Leeds Polytechnic from 1967 to 1970. In 1968 she made a film with three other students titled Musical which collaged and parodied existing musicals.
McNicoll was awarded a Princess of Wales Scholarship to attend Royal College of Art from 1970 to 1973, where she felt women were "marginalised" and "attention went to the men who were interested in industrial ceramics".
McNicoll worked as a wardrobe assistant at theatres in Birmingham and London in the early 1960s. In 1970 she designed costumes for Brian Eno of Roxy Music. Her black cockerel feathered boa collar achieved an iconic status in the fledgling glamrock period. McNicoll supervised the design of the cover for Eno's Here Come the Warm Jets album with one of her teapot designs being featured on the sleeve cover. She also worked as a machinist for fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, who in 1972 commissioned her to make a unique dinner set, consisting of pink coffee cups with hands for saucers.
McNicoll is one of a group of female artists who transformed the British ceramics scene in the 1970s. Her animated ceramic works are conceived to exist in the internal domestic sphere, while also taking on external elements of the world, through her composite sculptures using inventive modelling and moulding techniques, transfers and found objects.
McNicoll says of her work "I am entertained by making functional objects which are both richly patterned and comment on the strange world we have created for ourselves." She has lectured widely including at Camberwell College of Arts from 1986 to 2000. In 2001 she was short-listed for the Jerwood Prize for Ceramics. Recent work has been constructed from slipcast and found objects such as toy soldiers, using commercial and self-made transfer decoration.
McNicoll has designed collections for Next Interiors and Axis Diffusion amongst others, lectured at various institutions and has exhibited widely, both in the UK and internationally. In 2001 she was short-listed for the Jerwood Prize for Ceramics and a major Crafts Council retrospective of her work toured the UK from 2003 – 2005.