Awards 2010: Graduate Artist Says It With Flowers

Kedleston Road campus 504x257 Awards 2010: Graduate Artist Says It With Flowers

Date posted: 12 January 2010

For hundreds of students the University of Derby's graduation ceremonies this month may be their only contact with its Chancellor, the Duke of Devonshire - but one artist could well meet him again later this year when he helps 'decorate' his ancestral home.

Paul Cummins will graduate with a 2:1 Class degree from his BA (Hons) Crafts course, at the University of Derby's Awards Ceremonies on Friday January 22 at the Derby Assembly Rooms. The 12th Duke of Devonshire will attend the event in his role as the University's Chancellor.

The Duke's Derbyshire stately home, Chatsworth, will hold the Spring Florabundance festival from May 1 to 6 this year. More than 25,000 tulips and other spring flowers will decorate the building and its garden.

Among the real blooms will be up to 500 ceramic tulips, created by Paul to decorate flower borders outside The Orangery at Chatsworth. They will be on display from April 24 to May 16.

Each tulip head is thrown on a potters' wheel and hand-carved, before being 'fired' or baked. Paul then hand paints them in rich colours using a tin-based Maiolica glaze, making each one unique. The flower heads will be in a range of sizes and sit on 'stems' of flexible galvanised steel rods.

His ceramic creations were inspired by the tulips to be seen in paintings hanging at Chatsworth and the real flowers that will be there during the festival.

Paul, 32, of The Green, Chesterfield - who gave up a career as an architect to become a ceramics artist - said: "Each tulip is handmade, so no two are exactly alike. They are thrown using a potter's wheel and then individually painted with a tin glaze.

"The 500 flowers will take me about three months to make. I am looking forward to seeing people's reaction to my ceramic flower heads among the real ones."

For his end of degree show last summer (2009), Paul created 400 ceramic flowers to decorate part of the University's Markeaton Street site in Derby.

Since then his work has been displayed at a series of UK arts and crafts festivals, and at art galleries.

Simon Seligman, a Chatsworth spokesman, said: "As ever the scale of displays at Chatsworth, masterminded by noted floral arranger Jonathan Moseley and our own garden team, has to be immense to balance with the grand interiors and this will be achieved wonderfully through the use of cutting edge floral design and striking flowers such as Parrot Tulips, even some that stand up to to one metre in height.

"When you add more than 16,000 tulips growing outside, donated by De Jager bulbs, and the hundreds of specially created ceramic tulips being made by Paul Cummins, the overall effect, celebrating both art and horticulture, will make Florabundance 2010 a not-to-be-missed experience."

For more information about Paul's work see website

For further information about Chatsworth House's Spring Florabundance festival see website or call the bookings office on 01246 565300.

For further University of Derby media information please contact Press and PR Officer Sean Kirby on 01332 591891 or 07876 476103, or email

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