Date that this item was entered on to the web-site: 29th July 2004.


Elizabeth Turrell
Celebrate the stitch series, enamel on copper, 1993

Elizabeth Turrell , enamel artist

Elizabeth Turrell was interviewed at her home in Bristol on 28th July 2004. The interviewer was Matthew Partington, Director of NEVAC. The interview was the second in a series funded by University of the West of England's Faculty of Art Media and Design's Research Committee. The first was with Amal Ghosh.

To watch a short excerpt of the interview go to the videos page.

Elizabeth Turrell was born in Wickersley, Yorkshire. Brought up in Suffolk, she attended Lowestoft Art School before spending three years at the Central School of Art and Design, studying ceramics under Gilbert Harding-Green. Having moved to Bristol with her husband and young daughter Elizabeth began a period during which she juggled a young family and a number of jobs.

She worked as a designer for Habitat for three years, made hats which sold at Bristol's Studio 17 Gallery and began teaching ceramics at the QEH school where she was the first female teacher. She also taught ceramics at Clifton High School and in 1974 started teaching at Queens Road, (part of Bristol Polytechnic). It was at Queen's Road that Elizabeth first began to teach enamel. Throughout this period she had been making a name for herself with her porcelain jewellery which won a design centre award in the 1980s and was exhibited several times at the Chelsea Crafts Fair.

Elizabeth taught on the Foundation Course at Queens Road and later at Bower Ashton where Bristol Polytechnic's Faculty of Art, Media and Design was based. Enamels quickly became Elizabeth's forte, having had her first show at the Thornbury Festival in the late 1970s, featuring woven enamels. A big enamel show in Germany saw many Queens Road makers taking part and in the mid 1980s she won a major enamel prize at Limoges. In 1984 a major enamel show at Shipley, Gateshead featured British enamel artists, including Elizabeth.

Elizabeth's current post started with a small faculty grant in 1997 for print and enamel and printing on paper clay. Then an Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) Research Fellowship of three years began, which helped set up the enamel research room and led to the purchase of the large scale kiln in 2004. Elizabeth is curently employed at Bower Ashton as a Senior Research Fellow in enamel where she runs the research room, undertakes numerous public commissions and teaches graduate and post-graduate students.